Credited by Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles with presiding over graduation ceremonies “with precision and panache, dignity and décor”, Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Sir George Alleyne conducted his last ceremony in Barbados on Saturday.
“Our Chancellor has been a brilliant medical student, a brilliant professor of medicine, and a brilliant Chancellor. Simply put, our Chancellor has just been brilliant,” said Sir Hilary at Cave Hill Campus, as he spoke to the 2016 graduating class about the head of the regional university.
“Sadly, it is my duty to inform [that] these . . . ceremonies of graduation for academic year 2016/2017 bring to an end the reign of our most distinguished Chancellor, Sir George.”
In a style typical of his tenure at the top of UWI since 2003, Sir George focused his parting words on the future of students and the university.
“It is with that concern for the continued excellence of this place that I urge, I plead with you, to be good alumni, to discharge faithfully the functions that are intrinsic to a relationship of a student with an alma mater,” he said.
“Take this relationship seriously, support your university and give back to it with a generosity born, not only of filial appreciation, but born also of sheer self-interest. It is in your self-interest not to see the currency of what you acquired at UWI depreciate.”
The Barbadian surgeon, who also presided over the Pan American Health Organization as director from 1995 to 2003, recalled: “I was installed [as Chancellor] here in Cave Hill and have a special affinity and affect for this place, an affinity and affect that is born of nationalistic and institutional pride.
“It is the bright shining smiles in your faces as you come to receive your diplomas that have made these years really worthwhile,” Sir George told the 1,500 graduating students.