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Professor E. Nigel Harris, Vice Chancellor Emeritus UWISTAT 10 Greeting

Professor E. Nigel Harris, Vice Chancellor Emeritus UWISTAT 10 Greeting

I extend my sincere congratulations to present and past UWI STAT members for guiding this unique organisation through its first decade. I shall ever be proud that UWISTAT was founded during my tenure as Vice Chancellor.

Its beginnings were humble enough, born as an initiative of Celia Davidson-Francis, Director of Alumni relations, who believed that if UWI was to have a robust, sustainable body of alumni, we would have to start with current students.

Importantly, the decision was to have a group on each campus making the organisation truly regional, and to select students who had leadership skills and who showed promise of being advocates for the university and region. The Goals stated were:

  • Promotion of UWI, fostering pride in and loyalty to our university
  • Promotion of Regional Integration and the Caribbean Single Market and Economy(CSME)
  • Promotion of HIV/AIDS prevention in the Caribbean
  • Promotion of Disaster Mitigation and Risk Management in our Region

Each year, new cohorts of students have joined existing colleagues to construct programmes that speak to the goals enunciated above. In addition they have gone out in their own countries and in other territories as advocates for the organisation’s goals and to recruit high school students to the university – a particularly important exercise in “UWI-12 countries” where there may be insufficient information in high schools about UWI (and where we must compete against well-endowed North American universities for students). While UWISTAT’s beginnings were humble, the organisation has fulfilled in every way the hopes with which it was started. It has become an organisation of leaders present in all four of our campuses, some of whom have gone on to win prestigious awards ( including seven who have won Rhodes scholarships who and others have won prestigious Commonwealth and Chevening scholarships) and to other promising careers.

Perhaps the most important activity of UWI STAT is the FOOTPRINTS for development programme. This was another initiative of Celia Davidson- Francis, which is organised annually by the Corps to encourage the student body to give back to UWI even while they are still students. The tradition of alumni giving back to their institution is a vital attribute to sustaining a robust university. This programme has been a consistent success about which we should be proud.

Finally, we are pleased that many UWISTAT alumni have gone on to become leaders in their alumni organisations after they have graduated building the promise of vibrant alumni contributing to the vibrancy of their university.

My congratulations on this special occasion and my hope that this unique regional organisation will continue to grow from strength to strength.

Professor E. Nigel Harris
Chancellor University of Guyana


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