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Gloria Lyn Memorial Fund Launched

The UWI launched the Gloria Lyn Memorial Fund on 30 October 2014 with a special function led by the Chancellor, Sir George Alleyne and the Vice Chancellor, Professor Nigel Harris.

This launch is the beginning of bringing together people to create a critical mass of thought leaders to raise the visibility of literature at UWI, an institution of choice for studying West Indian literature, and create leaders with above average critical thinking to increase jobs and productivity in the region with graduates in literature. The Gloria Lyn Memorial Fund will give an annual prize, mentor the prize winners and promote the whole value chain of studying literature.

Studying literature transformed Gloria’s life born a Chinese shopkeeper’s daughter to a specialist in 17th Century English renaissance poetry lecturing at UWI. Her concentration when researching writing her lectures and her commitment to stretching the brighter students and bringing the weaker students up to standard made her a role model.

Cordel Green, Master of Ceremonies, showed brilliant management of the GLMF Launch Programme and demonstrated all the skills of a well-rounded Literatures in English student, having proceeded to Law, His contribution to this literary community by generously donating his talent is greatly appreciated.

Sir George Alleyne gave a fond account of his many connections with Gloria’s family including a story about himself visiting with her parents  then went on to point out the importance of reading and literature in our lives.

The programme continued to bring  together memories of Gloria from Astor Duggan, a close family friend for over 40 years who gave the tribute including her keen wit, ability to talk on any topic including those she read in The Actuary, her many dinner parties when she entertained on College Common and  her excellent cooking skills.

Prof. Michael Bucknor, a past student of Mrs Lyn who now heads the Department of Literatures in English, started his story of Mrs Lyn and the role she played from being a student to the time he finished his PhD in Canada. 

Prof. Hazel Simmons McDonald, from St Lucia, a classmate from undergraduate days who was attracted by Gloria’s accomplishments as a mature student and became a close friend over the years gave her memories of the study group Gloria nutured, Gloria’s attention to her children and the family personalities Hazel got to know.

Everyone on the room had several connections with Gloria Lyn, literature, UWI and with each other, too many to describe. Michael shared some of these connections and that Gloria Lyn taught some of the works of Wilson Harris, the Vice Chancellor’s father. 

Michael then announced the 2014 Gloria Lyn Memorial Fund prize winner Xavienne Roma Richardson. This prize is US$500 awarded to the student with the highest grade in any of the West Indian literature second year courses at Mona where Gloria lectured for twenty years.

Xavienne then gave an account of how she grew to love literature, her grandmother and teacher who nutured this special gift and that she is proud to receive the inaugural Gloria Lyn Memorial Prize.

Another highlight of the evening was Amina Blackwood-Meeks telling her story “Don’t Hurt That Bird”. Amina was her usual spell-binding self that further demonstrated the power of literature to move, inspire and instruct. The Gloria Lyn Memorial Fund looks forward to collaborating in developing the skills of story-telling.

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