The University of the West Indies (The UWI) joins the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the region in mourning the passing of former president, Emeritus Professor George Maxwell Richards, TC, CMT, PhD.
Richards, who was a chemical engineer by training and served as the fourth principal of the St Augustine campus (1985-1996) as well as the fourth President of Trinidad and Tobago (2003 to 2013), died on January 8, 2018. He was also a deputy principal and dean of the Faculty of Engineering at St Augustine.
Expressing condolences on behalf of the UWI community, Vice Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles described Richards as a “role model administrator”.
“Professor Richards was our master engineer extraordinaire who built with consummate ease lasting bridges across persons and places in conflict so as to enable our common humanity to rise and shine. No one in The UWI of his time knew better how to debate and then dance away our troubled spirits. Prof was a UWI man to the bone and never backed away from living within its regional community his deep rooted ‘Caribbeanness’. It was because of him and others like him that The UWI became a great community and university. His legacy of social engagement, collegial compassion, and institutional leadership will endure even when the music stops,” he added.
Among his many outstanding contributions, the university community salutes Emeritus Professor Richards for driving the ‘one UWI’ vision of the regional institution and for being a true advocate for students. Recognizing the number of disadvantaged students during his tenure as principal, in 1990 he founded what is known as The UWI Fete with the purpose of raising funds for bursaries. For his role in the development of the Faculty of Engineering and as one of its esteemed former members, Professor Richards was honoured by having the Chemical Engineering building renamed the Max Richards Building in 2010, during the St. Augustine campus’ 50th anniversary celebrations.
University Registrar C. William Iton, who worked with Richards, said, “Emeritus Professor Max Richards served our university with fierce commitment and dedication. He was the quintessential ‘University Man’ and was well-liked and respected. His legacy will endure.”