Veteran Barbadian musician and the latest recipient of a Doctor of Letters from the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus, Nicholas Brancker, has challenged the more than 1000 graduates to think outside the box and engage in new possibilities as they aim to push the island and region forward in this new creative age.
Saturday’s virtual UWI graduation ceremony 2021 saw several students graduating from the campus’ various faculties, such as law, medical sciences, social sciences, sport, science and technology, humanities and education, and the newly minted faculty of culture, creative and performing arts.
Brancker was one of three Barbadians who received an Honorary Doctorate this year, with legendary Barbadian and West Indian cricketers, Sir Cuthbert Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Leo Haynes, both receiving Doctor of Laws.
Brancker was gracious in his thanks towards the university for awarding him the doctorate, and praised the legendary cricketers for inspiring him during his earlier days of music production, as their on-field success showed him he was capable of flourishing in his field, even though the odds were against him.
“They were excelling in an environment that was not necessarily created for them … I watched my West Indies team function within the environments of a cricket field in a way that was respectful of the system that was set up for them to function in, but I also saw them bring their own personality, their own way of looking at things, their own character, and their own discipline into that system. To the point where the system had to change to suit them,” he said.
His challenge to this year’s graduating class was to adapt to the systems they intend to work in, but never lose their creative edge and imagination, when seeking to develop new ideas for modern issues.
“The world is full of challenges, it is full of possibilities, but it is also in a state of flux. People are questioning expertise, people are not showing patience with development of skills, people are expecting immediate results from everything whether it is possible or not.
“My dream for my West Indies is that it will be a place from which people come, who function within a system that has been set up largely not to accommodate them, but to find ways to make that system bend to suit them. So that they, and the people who are coming behind them have a chance. Do not identify yourself through what you do, do not push out your chest from what your achievements seem to mean, or what you roll seems to be, let us celebrate you without you having to say it,” Branker added.
Chancellor Robert Bermudez congratulated the graduates on their success over their tenure at the university. (SB)