History made as UWI Five Islands officially accepts first students

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The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Five Islands Campus in Antigua and Barbuda, officially welcomed 147 students at its inaugural Matriculation Ceremony on September 27.

Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, presided over the ceremony, formally accepting the students into the University.

He expressed that history was made with the induction of the first student cohort at The UWI, Five Islands. “I am a historian, and therefore I am seized by the historical significance of this moment. Your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren 100 years from now will reflect on this moment” he said to the matriculating class.

Expounding on the social and economic growth and impact that The UWI intends to bring to Antigua and Barbuda, and the wider Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Vice-Chancellor Beckles issued a challenge to all involved in the work of the Five Islands Campus, “to locate at least one (UWI) graduate in every household in Antigua and Barbuda.” This he believes, is important to lifting families out of poverty and transforming the society. He went on to encourage students to see themselves as more than customers of a University, but rather as members of The UWI family with a responsibility to take care of the institution “built by generations of West Indians.”

Antiguan scholar and top matriculant for 2019-2020, Kayah M. Ward, signed the academic register on behalf of her class. Having participated in the matriculation ceremony, a longstanding University tradition, the students at the Five Islands Campus are now formally recognised and accepted as members of The UWI. The cohort is currently pursing studies in the Schools of Humanities and Education; Management, Sciences and Technology; and Health and Behavioural Sciences.

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal (Interim), Professor Stafford Griffith addressed the ceremony’s gathering, noting, “This campus provides an opportunity for citizens of Antigua and Barbuda to obtain a University education in a choice of specializations at a much lower cost than previously…no longer do they have to meet the cost of airfare and accommodation associated with travelling to pursue a degree. Moreover, many students will be able to complete their studies while maintaining their jobs and employers will have an immediate stream of benefits from their improved expertise.” He told the new students, “You have the opportunity to reap the rewards associated with being graduates of this highly respected institution (The UWI) which is among the finest in the world.”

Director of Administration and Finance at the Five Islands Campus, Daniella Hickling chaired the ceremony. She declared, “While we begin with modest numbers and programmes, we celebrate this milestone and look forward with excitement to see this class bloom and to welcome even greater numbers.”

In attendance were Director of Academic Affairs, Hyram Forde, a member of the platform party; Clare Brown, Director of Education and Permanent Secretary Rosa Greenaway of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. Representative of the Guild of Students, Caleb Gardiner led the students in the academic vow.

A second phase of recruitment and registration for new students is underway for the start of the next semester beginning in January 2020.