News Releases

Tribute to VC Emeritus Rex Nettleford

For Release Upon Receipt - March 9, 2010

St. Augustine

The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine Campus, will celebrate the life of the late Professor the Honourable Ralston Milton ‘Rex’ Nettleford, with a special memorial service, simply titled “Tribute to VC Emeritus Rex Nettleford,” to be held on Thursday 11th March, 2010, from 6 to 7 p.m., at the Daaga Auditorium of The UWI St Augustine Campus. This event is free of charge and open to the public.

A great educator, historian, dancer and thinker, Professor Nettleford lived a life that seemed seamlessly intertwined with that of The University of the West Indies. Since 1953, when he entered The UWI as a student reading for a degree in History at the then University College of the West Indies, Professor Nettleford lived his life at and for The University, save for the brief years he spent as a Rhodes Scholar at Oriel College, Oxford.  At every stage in the growth and development of The University, Professor Nettleford’s quiet, self-effacing leadership could be discerned. He served five Vice Chancellors—Sir Arthur Lewis; Sir Philip Sherlock, who was his mentor; Sir Roy Marshall; Mr A.Z. Preston; and Sir Alister McIntyre—until he himself took up the mantle in 1998. Even after his official ‘retirement’ in 2004, Professor Nettleford continued to serve in the capacity of Vice Chancellor Emeritus, Professor of Cultural Studies and unofficial advisor to current Vice Chancellor, Professor E. Nigel Harris.

After his body was cremated in the United States, Professor Nettleford’s ashes were transported to Jamaica for an official funeral, which took place on Tuesday 16th February at the University Chapel, Mona Campus, at 10 a.m., an event filled with the music of The University Singers, The University Chorale and the National Dance Theatre Company Singers. The St Augustine Campus event is one of several tributes which have taken place across the region following the official funeral.


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Over the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI recently launched its Open Campus, a virtual campus with over 50 physical site locations across the region, serving over 20 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, and Social Sciences.