Fri | Apr 12, 2024

Sir Hilary Beckles praised as a ‘giant leader of The UWI’

Published:Wednesday | February 21, 2024 | 12:12 AM
Ian Randle (left), founder/chairman, Ian Randle Publishers, with  Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (UWI), following  the presentation of a copy of ‘Interrogating Justices’ to him at the Festschrift in h
Ian Randle (left), founder/chairman, Ian Randle Publishers, with Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (UWI), following the presentation of a copy of ‘Interrogating Justices’ to him at the Festschrift in honour of Sir Hilary at The UWI, Mona, on Thursday, February 15.
Lady Mary Beckles (left) with her husband, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles (third from left), Vice Chancellor of The University of the West Indies, with relatives, attorney-at-law Luke and his mom, Sandra Minott Phillips, at the Festschrift launch of “ ‘I
Lady Mary Beckles (left) with her husband, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles (third from left), Vice Chancellor of The University of the West Indies, with relatives, attorney-at-law Luke and his mom, Sandra Minott Phillips, at the Festschrift launch of “ ‘Interrogating Justices’ at the UWI Mona on February 15.
Professors Verene Shepherd, Errol Miller and Kris Manjapra at the Festschrift celebrating Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI), at the Mona campus.
Professors Verene Shepherd, Errol Miller and Kris Manjapra at the Festschrift celebrating Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI), at the Mona campus.
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‘Festschrift’ is defined by the Collin’s Dictionary as a collection of essays or learned papers contributed by a number of people to honour an eminent scholar, especially a colleague, and those in attendance for ‘Interrogating Injustices’ at The University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona, on February 15, did indeed enjoy a “feast of writing” (the German translation of ‘fest’ and ‘schrift’.)

At the launch of the book edited by The UWI’s Professor Verene Shepherd, Dr Henderson D Carter and Dr Ahmed N Reid and published by Ian Randle Publishers, Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of The UWI, Professor Densil Williams, praised Sir Hilary as “...a giant leader of The UWI”.

Professor Williams said that the Festschrift was “to celebrate an academic administrator par excellence, an advocate by devotion and one of the rare breed of true intellectuals who is tenanting with us on Mother Earth”. He said that in the book “ colleagues near and far not only memorialised Sir Hilary’s work but have placed the man in his rightful intellectual and philosophical place”.

The Festschrift, chaired by Dr Luz Longsworth, former pro vice chancellor and principal, UWI Global, saw special remarks by Carl Campbell, Emeritus Professor of History, a personal reflection by Emeritus Professor of Teacher Education, Errol Miller, and an Editor’s Conversation chaired by Professor Kris Manjapra, director, Arts and Humanities, Social Action Lab, Northeastern University, with ‘conversations’ with the three editors. Guests were welcomed by the Akwaaba Drummers, enjoyed an excerpt of a play written by Sir Hilary titled ‘The Betrayal’, presented by a troupe of alumni of The UWI Dramatic Arts Society, based at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts at The UWI, Mona Campus, under the direction of Michael Holgate, head of the centre. A soulful jazz presentation by The UWI Classical and Jazz ensemble (CAJE) completed the entertainment segment.

In his response, Sir Hilary expressed his thanks to his friends, family and colleagues, whom he said inspired him and supported his vision for The UWI, and traced his journey at the institution over three decades. Among his many milestones was the establishment under his leadership of The UWI’s fifth campus – The Five Islands University in Antigua and Barbuda and the high ranking of The UWI by the prestigious The Times Higher Education (THE), a release noted further. Beginning in 2019, the university was ranked in the top four per cent of the world’s best universities. By 2020, The UWI was ranked number one university in the Caribbean, number one among worldwide universities between 50 and 80 years old, among the top 1 per cent in Latin America. Improving in ranking each year, by 2021, The UWI was named among the top 1.5 per cent universities in the world by THE.