First UWI Graduates

"In the fog and darkness which is a constant menace to the civilized world, our Universities are the best of all beacons; and it is surely a wise precaution to put up another one to guide the spirit of mankind into the deep and safe waters of wisdom and understanding."

- Her Royal Highness Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, First Chancellor of the UWI. Extracted from her Installation Address

The very first graduates of the UWI started their academic careers at the then University College of the West Indies (now UWI) on the Mona Campus (the first campus) on October 3, 1948.

The finalists from over 800 applicants, these 23 men and 10 women varied in age, background and experience. They represented the region's best and brightest minds. They were the pioneers who as they began classes in the wooden camp huts what once housed refugees of war from Gibraltar and Malta, led the way for the future of tertiary education in the Caribbean.

"This is our child and father to be. It must grow in an atmosphere of close and protective attention. We must make it our very own and that demands watchfulness and most of all pride and purpose and spirit in all our acts and deeds and thoughts when we turn them towards this great new thing among us."

- Norman Washington Manley, National Hero of Jamaica. Extracted from his letter to the Daily Gleaner the day after the first Chancellor's installation.

The first Faculty was Medical Sciences.

The First Class of 33 young Caribbean Citizens:

  • Dr. Lawrence B. Bannister
  • Dr. Yvonne M. Browne
  • Dr. Donald E. Christian
  • Dr. Ranville Clarke
  • Dr. Harold R. Francis
  • Dr. Joseph S. Hall
  • Dr. Muriel V. Lowe
  • Dr. Owen D. Minott
  • Dr. Carlton E. Patrick
  • M. Val Rogers
  • Dr. Thomas Benn
  • Dr. Ludlow M. Burke
  • Dr. Betty M. Clarke
  • Dr. Etta Ellis
  • Mr. Gifford Gallimore
  • Dr. Barry Hamilton-Smith
  • Dr. Keith A. McKenzie
  • Dr. Eileen Mitchell-Browne
  • Dr. Ainsley Powell-Jones
  • Prof. Sir Kenneth L. Standard
  • Dr. D. Valerie Box
  • Dr. Clive Charles
  • Dr. Haldane D. Clarke
  • Dr. Ronald I. Forbes
  • Mr. Charles W. Greenidge
  • Dr. Ruby Lake-Richards
  • Mr. Harry Mendes
  • Dr. Denise B. Mitchell-Thwaites
  • Prof. Pamela Rodgers-Johnson
  • Dr. Roderick Thompson
  • Dr. R. Alford Walwyn
  • Dr. Rosemary Weatherhead-Lyons
  • Dr. Michael O. Woo Ming 

These students graduated in 1954.

In 1949 the Faculty of Natural Sciences opened and the very first graduates of the then University College of the West Indies graduated in 1953, as follows:

  • Roy Hope Alexander Bailey (Jamaica) - the first person to receive a degree from UWI 
  • Oliver James Claudious Francis (Jamaica) 
  • Winston Bancroft Le Vere Johnson (Jamaica) 
  • Carlton Lewis (Jamaica) 
  • Trevor Calthorpe McMorris (Jamaica) 
  • Kenneth Eugene Magnus (Jamaica) 
  • Gladstone Winston Fitz-Gerald Morgan (Jamaica) 
  • Joseph Cleophas Lamonte Drakes (Barbados) 
  • Talib Ali Omardeen (Trinidad) 
  • Kenneth Mervyn Tam (Trinidad) 
  • John William Whittingham (British Guiana)

"The problems of the West Indies will never be fully solved unless they are understood and investigated, to a far greater extent, in the West Indies by West Indians" - The Sub-Committee of the Asquith Commission otherwise known as the Irvine Committee


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