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UWI loses one of its first “33”

UWI loses one of its first “33”

Owen MinottDr. Owen Minott – one of the first thirty three University College of the West Indies (UCWI) students from the class of 1948, has died. He was 89 years old.

The first UCWI students—10 women and 23 men—came from all over the Caribbean and were housed in the old Gibraltar Camp huts and had classes in nearby large wooden buildings. There were sixteen Jamaicans, six Bajans, four from Trinidad & Tobago, two from Antigua/Barbuda, two from Grenada and one each from Guyana, St Kitts/Nevis and Turks & Caicos Islands. Everyone had to live on campus. Life in the dorms was fun and soon a tight bond was knit among the students and Dr. Minott kept in touch with classmates like Dr. Muriel Lowe and Dr. Keith McKenzie.

Dr. Minott lived in UCWI ‘s first Hall of Residence, Gibraltar Hall or “Gib Hall” as it was popularly known. This hall paved the way for hall life as it is now. He recalled his Hall experience as “the best in the world.” With the Bell of Gibraltar as their symbol, the residents or Gibraltarites, make their mark on the campus for the ensuing six years, until Halls like Irvine and Chancellor came into existence. Of note was that the faculty had colourful characters like the Anatomy teacher, Professor Walter Harper and the Chemistry lecturer, Dr A.C. (“the Duke”) Ellington; also of Professor MacKay and Dr Paul Feng who taught Biochemistry and the hospitable Estate Manager, Major Karl Craig. At the end of each term, there were one-on-one assessment sessions of each student by the Principal, Sir Thomas Taylor. This was a formidable prospect for the students, which they called ‘collections’.

Dr. Minott will be remembered as a loyal alumnus, an excellent medical practitioner and an avid photographer, perhaps best known for the book UWI: A Photographic Journey, which was published to mark the University’s 50th Anniversary, as he and Dr. Ken Richards took the photographs which appeared in this publication.

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