NASSAU, The Bahamas — The University of the West Indies (UWI) has declared Monday, January 7, 2008, to be UWI Day, signalling the start of the year of celebration of the regional icon’s 60th anniversary.
Celebratory events will take place across the English-speaking Caribbean and the Caribbean Diaspora in the US, Canada and the UK throughout 2008.
According to a press statement from UWI, the launch date holds special significance to the institution.
“On January 7, 1947, the first governing body of the University College of the West Indies (UCWI), assembled for its first meeting in the house of the British Council in Jamaica.
“It was at this first meeting that the decision was taken that the lands at Mona, Jamaica, were most suitable for establishing the first campus of the University of the West Indies.”
The release stated that several local committees will work to plan celebrations on a national level, while a central planning committee chaired by UWI Vice Chancellor, Professor E. Nigel Harris will coordinate UWI staff, students and alumni to organise signature, region-wide, 60th anniversary events.
There will be several highlights of the 60th anniversary. The opening ceremony will be at the UWI Cave Hill campus in Barbados on Sunday, January 12. It will include an inter-faith service at the St. Mary’s Church, followed by a Town & Gown Procession through the streets of Bridgetown and ending with an open air concert.
The Special Convocation Week planned for July 12–19, will take place at the UWI’s oldest campus in Mona, Jamaica. The Medical Alumni Association has planned its 9th Reunion & Conference to coincide with this July event at the Mona Campus. Other reunions of the Engineering, Law and Agriculture alumni are also planned throughout the year at the UWI campuses in St. Augustine, Trinidad and Cave Hill, Barbados.
At the culmination of the year-long celebrations, a black-tie gala dinner will be hosted by the St. Augustine’s Campus.
Proceeds from all UWI 60th Anniversary initiatives will be channelled into a special UWI Regional Endowment Fund, which will be launched during the 2008 celebrations.
The fund will facilitate infrastructural projects across the region, such as a Commuting Students’ facility for students at UWI Mona; a new Hall of Residence to accommodate 800 – 1000 students at UWI St. Augustine; an Inter-faith Chapel at UWI Cave Hill and a Cultural Studies Institute for the UWI’s 12 territories.