June 16, 2021

Three Distinguished UWI Alumni receive Pelican Awards from Open Campus Alumni Chapters

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Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Barbados. October 16, 2019 – On Saturday, October 12, 2019, three distinguished alumni of The University of the West Indies were conferred with the prestigious Pelican Award. The Awards were presented at The University of the West Indies Alumni Association (UWIAA) Open Campus Alumni Chapters annual Pelican Awards Ceremony held at Government House in St John’s, Antigua and Barbuda.

This year’s recipients of the Pelican Awards are His Excellency the Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Rodney Errey Lawrence Williams; former UWI Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gerald Alastair Clarence Grell of Dominica; and Reverend William Wilberforce Watty, Methodist Presbyter also of Dominica.

Sir Rodney Williams

Sir Rodney Williams received his MBBS Degree in Medicine and Surgery from The University of the West Indies (The UWI), in 1976. As a student at The UWI, Sir Rodney served as the Class Representative of the Medical Class of ‘76 on the Medical Faculty Board. From 1978, after completing his Internship at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados, Sir Rodney Williams returned to Antigua and Barbuda and worked at the Holberton Hospital before his appointment as a District Medical Officer and the establishment of his private practice.

Sir Rodney has had an illustrious career in the public service starting in 1984 when he entered politics to become a Member of Parliament and then served as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. Sir Rodney’s political career continued with several successive ministerial appointments. Beginning in 1986 when Prime Minister V C Bird Sr. gave him his initial appointment as Minister of Economic Development, Industry and Tourism. Sir Rodney served Prime Minister Lester Bird’s Cabinet as Minister of Education, Sports, Youth and Community Development (1989-94), Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment (1994-99), and as Minister of Education, Culture and Technology (1999-2004).

While serving as Education Minister, Sir Rodney had the distinction of serving on The Council of The UWI. This role was a special one since in this appointment, he succeeded his father in the role on the Council, making it the first father and son duo to serve in this capacity. He attended the Earth Summit in Brazil in 1992 and his paper was accepted as the main for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). While Sir Rodney served as the Minister with responsibility for the Environment, he was appointed as Deputy Chair of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. He also chaired several sessions on Sustainable Development at the United Nations.

Sir Rodney Williams was appointed as Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda in August 2014. His Excellency’s appointments by the Queen as a Knight Grand Cross of St. Michael and St. George and as a Knight of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem were announced in the London Gazette on October 17, 2014 and December 22, 2014 respectively.

In 2016, in recognition for his outstanding achievements as an UWI Alumni, His Excellency was appointed as a Patron of The UWI Global Giving Week.

Sir Rodney Williams has recorded an impressive portfolio of achievements and contributions in the fields of Sports Medicine, Aviation Medicine and community service.

Professor Gerald Alastair Clarence Grell

Professor Gerald Alastair Clarence Grell, born in Dominica, a Cardiologist by profession and former UWI Pro Vice-Chancellor, graduated from The University of the West Indies in 1967 with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MBBS. (Hons). He was elected as the first President of The UWI Medical Alumni, Jamaican Chapter, for the period 1987–1989. He has served in many capacities including Lecturer in Medicine and Consultant Physician from 1977-1980, Associate Dean, Professor of Medicine, Medical Director of the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), Pro Vice-Chancellor, UWI and Director, Office of University Services (OUS), UWI, Barbados.

He has contributed immensely to the Caribbean region in his work in academia. He has also given numerous years of service to the Dominican community through his profession as a Cardiologist. Dr Grell has developed a Central National ECHOCARDIOGRAM referral service as a solo Cardiologist at PMH, supported by visits from Dr Richard Ishmael (Barbados) and Dr Jocelyn Inamo (Martinique). To date he has written two books namely: The Elderly in the Caribbean and The University of the West Indies and the Eastern Caribbean, five chapters in books, contributed to 83 scientific journals and periodicals and presented 54 abstracts and papers at scientific meetings. Professor Grell, has contributed extensively to the Caribbean, the University and his community.

William Wilberforce Watty

William Wilberforce Watty, affectionately known as Reverend William Watty of Portsmouth Dominica is a Methodist Presbyter. Reverend Watty attended The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados from 2005-2010. Upon graduation he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Theology.

He started his career as a civil servant in 1955, but quickly rose to other positions such as that of Acting Principal, Virgin Islands Secondary School, Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Senior Methodist Tutor, Lecturer in Old Testament Language and Literature, Church History, United Theological College of the West Indies (UTCWI), Kingston, Jamaica; Superintendent Minister, Roseau and the Dominica Circuit, Methodist Church in the Caribbean and Americas (MCCA).

He has served in many capacities across the Caribbean in countries such as the British Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and his native, Dominica. He has written three publications namely Awakening to Wider Horizons, From Shore to Shore: Soundings in Caribbean Theology in 1981; and The Nathan Narrative in 2 Samuel 7:1-17: A Tradition-historical Study in 2016. Reverend Watty is the Founder of the Student Christian Movement in Trinidad in 1965 and was a lay member of the Silk Advisory Committee.

Organised by the collective chapters of The UWI Alumni Association (UWIAA), the Pelican Award is the highest award that a UWIAA Chapter may bestow on a graduate. This Award is made to graduates of The UWI who have made significant contributions to their communities, the development of the University and the Caribbean.

The collective Chapters of The UWI Open Campus congratulate the 2019 Pelican Awardees and wish them success as they continue to serve with excellence and show their “Pelican Pride.”

Photo Caption:

Left to right: Campus Officer for Alumni Relations, Mrs Sandra Griffith-Carrington, President, Alumni Chapter, Antigua and Barbuda, Ms Ruthlyn Matthias, Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Pelican Awardees, Professor Gerald Alastair Clarence Grell and Sir Rodney Williams, Chancellor, Mr Robert Bermudez, Director of Alumni Relations, UWI, Mrs Celia Davidson-Francis and Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Open Campus, Dr Luz Longsworth.

About The UWI Alumni Association (UWIAA)

The primary purpose of the Alumni Chapters is to foster and maintain contact among graduates of the University, encourage a closer bond of affinity and commitment to the University and engage in fundraising and other activities to enhance the development of the University.

About The UWI

For over 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and an Open Campus. As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, and Africa including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Studies Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); the UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies and the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ). The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. 

As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. The world’s most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, has ranked The UWI among the top 600 universities in the world for 2019, and the 40 best universities in Latin America and the Caribbean for 2018 and 2019.The UWI has been the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists. For more, visit www.uwi.edu.

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)

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