Professor Sir Hilary Beckles thanks UWI staff for contributions to building an ‘excellent university’.

The University of the West Indies’ (The UWI) is celebrating its recently announced surge in ranking among the world’s top universities, validating its vision of being an excellent global university. And on Wednesday, October 16, the regional academy also celebrated some outstanding staff for their professional achievements and contributions towards the University’s high performance, at the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence.

Considered one of the annual highlights of The UWI calendar, the prestigious ceremony was presided by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles who presented academic, senior administrative, and professional staff with awards for excellence in teaching, research, service to the university community, and public service, or a combination of areas. The Awards Ceremony which rotates annually across the University’s campuses was held at Cave Hill this year.

“The concept of excellence is not a simple one. It is not simply about achievement”, said Vice-Chancellor Beckles during his remarks. “It is about the location of that achievement within the context of the evolution of a civilisation and the move towards sustaining it.”

He defined that the measure of an excellent university is one that is committed to all of the big conversations challenges and all the major shortfalls that need to be remedied in a society. He stated, “and therefore when we celebrate the excellence of our colleagues, we are celebrating them within the context of all of these discourses and their special effort and commitment towards achieving all of these objectives.”

Addressing the Awardees directly, Vice-Chancellor Beckles said, “I wish to thank you for all that you’ve done not only for yourselves but for us a University.”

The evening’s programme also included remarks from Dr. Maurice D. Smith, University Registrar, Professor V. Eudine Barriteau, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Cave Hill Campus,

Professor Stephan Gift, Pro Vice-Chancellor Graduate Studies and Research and Chair of the Selection Committee and citations of the awards read by Mr. Jeff Cumberbatch, Public Orator at the Cave Hill Campus.

In a response on behalf of the awardees, Professor Justin Robinson who was recognised for excellence in ‘Public Service & Service to University’ also expressed a message of gratitude. He stated, “I want to thank the leadership for continuing to seek to be such a high quality university. I also want to commend Caribbean governments and our various stakeholders for continuing to provide the support for excellence at UWI. A University of the type that is The UWI is not a cheap endeavour and I really want to encourage Caribbean governments and our stakeholders to continue to provide the support that The UWI needs if it is to be excellent.”

A complete list of the categories and for 2018/2019 awardees follows:


  • Dr Aisha Spencer, School of Education, Mona Campus


  • Dr Adesh Ramsubhag, Department of Life Sciences, St Augustine Campus
  • Dr Georgiana Gordon-Strachan, Caribbean Institute for Health Research, Mona Campus


  • Professor Justin Robinson, Faculty of Social Sciences, Cave Hill Campus


  • Professor Ann Marie Bissessar, Faculty of Social Sciences, St Augustine Campus


  • Dr O. Peter Adams, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Cave Hill Campus and Professor Rohan G. Maharaj, Faculty of Medical Sciences, St. Augustine Campus—Principal Investigators with the Eastern Caribbean Health Outcomes Research Network (ECHORN) and the Yale Transdisciplinary Collaborative Centre for Health Disparities Research focused on Precision Medicine (Yale-TCC).
  • Dr Saran Stewart, School of Education, Mona Campus for her work with the Global Access to Postsecondary Education (GAPS) initiative.

Photo caption: Professor Sir Hilary Beckles (centre) pictured with the 2018/2019 Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence awardees.