UWI honours elite 5


It was an evening of much celebration for five elite and outstanding scholars as they were awarded in what is perhaps one of the most anticipated and most esteemed events on the calendar of the University of the West Indies – the presentation of the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence.
Family, friends, colleagues and well-wishers, gathered at the Faculty of Medical Sciences Lecture Theatre, Cave Hill Campus last evening to witness the special moment for the five under-sixty – four male and one female – who were chosen from a group of 60.
The academics were chosen based on four major core areas – outstanding teaching, outstanding research, outstanding services to the university community and outstanding contribution to public service – through what was described as “an intense and rigorous” selection process.
The honourees were professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan from the Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Child Health at the Mona Campus, professor Clive Landis from the Chronic Disease Research Centre, Cave Hill, doctor Kusha Haraksingh, Department of History, Faculty of Humanities and Education, professor doctor Dave Chadee, Department of Life Science and professor John Agard from the Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science and Agriculture from the St Augustine Campus.
The event which is in its 17th year brings the total number of special awardees to 57.
During his reply on behalf of the awardees, Professor Landis said their “towering achievement” stood as testimony that the University had succeeded in influencing policy and public life regionally. He however, stated that the university should do more to help “translate ideas into action and turn intellectual property into products”.
He further called on the local business sector to form a closer relationship with the university.
“The simple truth is that we need the corporate sector to help convert our ideas into action . . . I say to the business community, we can and must develop deeper relationships. We must collaborate to develop industrial patents and launch innovative products,” he said.
Landis also urged businesses to adopt community interventions that they have developed, noting that together “we can form innovative partnerships to improve productivity”.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor E. Nigel Harris described the event and being a part of the university as “a point of pride” noting that they were a part of a “new generation” and the university had a “charge” to them.
“We are pressing forward with research and post graduate programmes to improve those because we are not where we ought to be. We just saw a ranking of 11 000 universities in the world . . . I will tell you that we (UWI) were in the top ten per cent . . . and ultimately it is because of the nature of the people which we have, and quite frankly, we should be doing very much better,” said Professor Harris. (MM)


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