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UWI on a new path

Carlos Atwell

UWI on a new path

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Courses in coral reef ecology, medical electronics and instrumentation, mass media writing, as well as environmental and Chronic Non-Communicable Disease (CNCD) research, are among the new steps the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus is undertaking.
Chancellor Sir George Alleyne, speaking during the first part of the UWI graduation ceremony in the gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex yesterday, said the UWI had also helped to create the first multi-disease registry for CNCDs in the Caribbean.
All this, he said, was evidence of the importance of tertiary education and of governmental support for tertiary education.
“Tertiary education . . . reduces the degree of inequality in society,” Sir George said.
“It levels the playing field and allows those who are intellectually gifted but financially challenged to play on that same field.
“Tertiary education in universities is necessary for the creation, dissemination and application of knowledge and . . . innovation. Countries that do not have and do not use this capacity are destined for the dustbins of history and that is the reason why the state has a vested interest in tertiary education.”
Sir George said there were 1 200 graduates – made up of 260 postgraduates; 80 first class honorees and 17 post-graduates who earned research degrees.
The ceremony was attended by Governor General Sir Clifford Husbands and Acting Prime Minister Ronald Jones, as well as vice chancellor Professor E. Nigel Harris and pro-vice chancellor and UWI principal Sir Hilary Beckles.
It was divided into two parts where those graduating from the Faculty of Medicine, of Humanities and of Pure and Applied Sciences went first and those from Social Sciences and Law were scheduled to go later in the day.
The first segment featured three individuals who received honorary doctorates: forensic psychiatrist Dr Shirley Brathwaite, who was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science; historian Professor Keith Sandiford, who was awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters, and Archbishop of the West?Indies and Bishop of Barbados, Dr John Holder, who was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws.
Two others were scheduled to receive honorary doctorates during the second segment: social anthropologist Professor Kwesi Prah, the degree of Doctor of Letters, and retired president of the Caribbean Development Bank, Professor Emeritus Compton Bourne, the degree of Doctor of Laws.
Holder told the graduates to keep their expectations “real and relevant” and not to apologize for their achievements and ambition.
“There should be no apologies for seeking after excellence and for rejoicing when you have achieved it, as there should be a constant striving after excellence. Thank God for all you have achieved and push forward with the development of yourself and of this region with excellence as your goal,” he said.
The Anglican archbishop advised the graduates to be confident but not arrogant and keep their minds open to new things.
“Do not close your minds to the new and creative ideas that will bombard you. Many things will challenge everything you have been taught . . . but one of the most exciting and challenging experiences of life is encountering new ideas and doing things in new ways.
“Whatever may be your field of study, demonstrate that our university continues to help us to succeed; grasps where we ought to go and guides and empowers us to move along the way. Continue on the journey of enlightenment that education provides,” Holder said.