For a couple hours on Wednesday some alumni of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus relived a brief moment of what it was like graduating from the learning institution some 10 to 50 years ago.
One by one as their names were called, the who’s who of the Caribbean went up and collected their awards for their outstanding contribution in various fields.
The 70 illustrious honourees included a range of men and women across the region ranging from judges, central bankers, former prime ministers, trade unionists, doctors, lawyers, professors, musicians, entrepreneurs and chief justices.
They were awarded in a special ceremony which formed part of the school’s 70th anniversary celebrations.
“This final list of 70 is by no means an indication that the UWI believes these persons to be the only outstanding graduates emerging from this hallowed hill. We are proud of, and value all of our graduates,” said Principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor of the UWI, Cave Hill Campus Professor Eudine Barriteau.
The former students attended the university between the 1960s and 2000s.
Noting that UWI graduates continue to make impactful contributions to their households, community and countries, Barriteau said she was pleased that many of them were also making waves across the region as well as globally.
The principal said the intention was that the university would be around for many more decades, continuing to produce citizens of high calibre.
“We know not what is to come but you can be sure that the University of the West Indies and indeed, the Cave Hill Campus, will be here to train minds, find solutions and unleash the rich potential of all those students in all those classrooms throughout the campus and we intend to do this for generations to come,” said Barriteau.
Two plaques bearing the names of the 70 awardees were unveiled at the entrance to the quadrangle on the main campus.
Speaking on behalf of the honourees, former prime minister of St Lucia Dr Kenny Anthony described the moment as one of “intense and overwhelming nostalgia”.
“Believe it or not, this generation of Caribbean leadership is also an assessment of the University of the West Indies, because in every island of the archipelago, graduates of the University of the West Indies are the persons who have held the levers of authority, power and responsibility,” said Anthony.
“We are the ones who help to nurse these countries through very difficult periods of our economic and social lives. So I think if there is any statement about our contribution, that statement will be assessed against the history, which has shaped us and [the] history which we have created over the years,” he added.