UWI St Augustine Campus Graduation Ceremonies 2021

Like a warm wave wending its way down the Caribbean Sea, Graduation 2021 brought tides of celebration to the St Augustine Campus. Starting in early October at the Five Islands Campus in Antigua and Barbuda, the graduation ceremonies then took place for the Open Campus, then the Cave Hill Campus, and from October 28 to 30, here in Trinidad and Tobago, before concluding at the Mona Campus in Jamaica.

“Here” has a special meaning. The UWI St Augustine ceremonies, like all the others, took place virtually for the second year in a row because of the restrictions on social gatherings. COVID-19 has had such a destabilising effect on society that even “year” has a special meaning. The 2020 graduation ceremonies had to be moved from the traditional month of October to January 2021. Not only has the campus’ signature event been reimagined from in-person to online, it had to be executed twice in the space of 10 months.

That's quite an achievement. And though members of the campus community, particularly some students, miss the ambiance and connectedness of the massive gatherings to recognise the achievements of the graduating class, the virtual ceremonies were still powerful and deeply moving.

The valedictorians shared their personal stories and collective experiences with their fellow students. UWI Chancellor Robert Bermudez not only congratulated the graduands, he made a forceful call for them to contribute to the society and the institution. UWI’s performers - musicians, dancers, and singers, entertained the online audience. The honorary graduands - four citizens of T&T that have made major contributions to national life - shared their words, and in one case, mastery of the steelpan.

But most magical of all, was the virtual distribution of diplomas, as each dean painstakingly read the names of every single graduate from their faculties. The names, and many times the pictures, of the graduates filled the screen. Hearts flooded the chat box. “That’s my sister!” “That’s my son!” “Look my friend!” “I’m so proud!”

A year and a half after the rise of the pandemic, welcome back October.

For more graduation coverage, including links to the ceremonies, visit the UWI St Augustine or UWITV Facebook pages.