It is now official. Barbadian trailblazers Dame Maizie Barker-Welch and Dame Billie Miller now have honourary doctorates from the University of the West Indies.
Dame Maizie, a women’s rights activist who was also involved in politics, received the honour during the first of two graduation ceremonies at the Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium yesterday.
“By sharing her enduring skills with women in need, Dame Maizie became a leader exemplified in Beth Revis’ description of such, which states that “a leader isn’t someone who forces others to make her stronger; a leader is someone willing to give her strength to others so that they may have the strength to stand on their own,” UWI stated in its citation.
Her record of service at the national, regional and international levels spanned seven decades.
She received the degree of Doctor of Laws.
Retired politician, Dame Billie was the first woman to sit in the Cabinet of Barbados, and served as minister of foreign affairs and deputy prime minister, among other senior positions, in several Barbados Labour Party administrations.
“The legacy of Dame Antoinette Miller resides in part in the many initiatives from which she fought and have now come to fruition,” her citation stated.
Also honoured was Grenada’s first female Governor General Dame Cecile La Grenade with a degree of Doctor of Science. She was described as an icon of public life, entrepreneurship and civil leadership in Grenada.
“I also share this year’s conferral of honorary degrees with two other distinguished women, whose prolific works and magnificent accomplishments are without a doubt, outstanding examples of a resolute commitment to public service and to the improvement of humankind. Congratulations to you all and thank you for your lifetime of service to our communities,” Dame Cecile said in her feature address to the graduating class yesterday morning.