Dr Marjorie Patricia Downes-Grant, President and CEO of Sagicor Life, Barbados, is among six distinguished regional citizens being honoured by the University of the West Indies when the Mona Campus hosts its annual graduation ceremonies on October 31 and November 1.
Downes-Grant, a Barbadian who heads the largest financial conglomerate in Barbados and the OECS will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. She is among a total of 19 eminent and influential people who will have received honorary doctorates from the UWI in 2014 when this year’s round of graduation ceremonies at its four regional campuses wraps up in Jamaica at monthend.
Not only is she the leading woman in corporate Barbados, but Downes-Grant is also a transformational leader who has done a great deal to ensure that The UWI benefits from her success. She has had extensive experience in business consulting, financial services and development banking, and has been with Sagicor Life since 1991. Dr Downes-Grant is also director of a number of statutory boards and private companies in Barbados.
Also being presented to Chancellor Sir George Alleyne to receive the university’s highest accolade are Silicon Valley technology entrepreneur Nicholas Earle Brathwaite and veteran publisher, author and editor Dr Robert Jeremy Poynting who will both receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. Longstanding educator Ryland Campbell and outstanding administrator The Hon Michael Fennell will be awarded honorary Doctor of Laws degrees while Professor Alan Jackson who has given meritorious medical service will be conferred with an honorary Doctor of Science degree.
Brathwaite an international business executive, has been instrumental in creating and/or leading multinational “high tech” businesses in many countries. He is a co-founder and partner of the technology investment firm, Riverwood Capital based in Menlo Park, California. Brathwaite currently serves on the boards of several private and public companies in the United States, China and Argentina. He is also a member of the board of directors of two publicly traded companies: Power Integrations, Inc. and Tessera Technologies Inc. A prolific philanthropist, he is the holder of several patents, author of many international publications, a successful entrepreneur and highly accomplished, globally respected technology industry executive.
Dr. Poynting, who for years has been an authority on Caribbean literature and culture, is recognised for his work as editor and director of Peepal Tree Press and his invaluable contributions to Caribbean literature. After 25 years of operation, the medium-sized literary publishing house can now be said to be the leading publishers of Caribbean writers. At the heart of the press is Dr Poynting, founder and director. Through his vision Peepal Tree Press has grown steadily and expanded in remarkable ways.
Campbell has made significant and long-lasting contributions to the development and sustainability of Jamaica’s education system, and has occupied several prestigious positions in this field for over three decades. In addition to being a positive force in education, he is renowned for his business acumen and his transformational capabilities in the financial sector. Campbell has served for several years as Chairman, Group President and CEO of Capital and Credit Financial Group Ltd – a group he co-founded. A business entrepreneur with extraordinary vision, Campbell is deemed the epitome of success in the Jamaican business sector and is viewed as an inspirational leader and mentor by many rising entrepreneurs.
Michael S. Fennell, OJ, CD, is an outstanding Jamaican who has served in various leadership positions at the local, regional and international levels. At The UWI, Mona Campus, he has served as the Chair of the Placement and Career Services Board for over 26 years, advising on different aspects of students’ career development. His career also includes distinguished sports leadership at the national, regional and international levels, including membership on the International Olympic Committee Programme Commission and the IOC Women in Sports Committee. He also served as Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation (1994-2003) and President (2003-2001), and Vice-President of the Pan American Sports Organisation (PASO). For his contribution to sports in Jamaica he was awarded the national honour of Order of Jamaica in 2005.
Professor Alan Jackson is currently the director at the National Institute for Health Research Southampton Biomedical Research Centre in nutrition. He became the first UK professor of human nutrition in 1985, and has been a central driver of Southampton’s leadership in the field since. Having trained as a paediatrician, Professor Jackson’s early research to determine the pathophysiology of severe acute malnutrition in children helped establish the principles of prevention and care for global application. It was also the basis for the principles of nutrition support for severely sick people in the UK. His international roles include President of the Association for Nutrition; Chair of: the International Malnutrition Task Force of IUNS and World Cancer Research Fund, and elected member of the Caribbean Health Research Council.