Reverend, Soca Artiste, and “Father of the Internet Search Engine” among 10 to receive UWI honorary degrees
Ten persons will receive honorary degrees during the 2019 graduation ceremonies at The University of the West Indies (The UWI). The honourees, approved by the University Council, are recognised for making significant contributions to the region and the wider world in their respective fields of expertise, including the Arts, Business, Religion and the Sciences. They join a select group of some 500 persons conferred UWI honorary degrees since 1965 when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother received The UWI’s first honorary degree (DLitt). This prestigious tradition has seen honorary graduands recognised annually since then.
The 2019 honorary graduands and degrees to be conferred are:
Cave Hill Campus
- Maxine Williams of Trinidad and Tobago for Leadership – Doctor of Laws (LLD)
- Stedson ‘Red Plastic Bag’ Wiltshire of Barbados for his work as an Entertainer – Doctor of Letters (DLitt)
- Alan Emtage of Barbados for Scientific Invention – Doctor of Science (DSc)
- Patrick A. A. Hylton of Jamaica for his contribution the field of Finance – Doctor of Laws (LLD)
- Thalia Lyn of Jamaica for Entrepreneurship – Doctor of Laws (LLD)
- Reverend Dr. Burchell Taylor of Jamaica for Theology – Doctor of Laws (LLD)
- Sir S. W. Tapley Seaton of Saint Kitts and Nevis for Public Service – Doctor of Laws (LLD)
St. Augustine Campus
- Ewart Williams of Trinidad and Tobago for Leadership and his service to the region – Doctor of Laws (LLD)
- Pelham Goddard of Trinidad and Tobago for his work in music production and entertainment – Doctor of Letters (DLitt)
- Professor Emeritus Harold Ramkissoon of Trinidad and Tobago for his work as a Mathematician and his contribution to the development of Science and Technology in the Caribbean and beyond – Doctor of Science (DSc)
The Open Campus will launch UWI’s 2019 graduation ceremonies on October 12 in Antigua and Barbuda; followed by Cave Hill Campus, Barbados, on October 19; St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago, from October 24–26; and Mona Campus, Jamaica, on November 1–2.
About the 2019 Honorary Graduands
Cave Hill Campus
Ms. Maxine Williams of Trinidad and Tobago for Leadership – LLD
An attorney, human rights activist, diversity specialist, actress, media personality, writer, Maxine Williams is a multifaceted Caribbean woman with a global mandate. Since 2013, the Trinidad and Tobago born Attorney-at-Law has served as Global Chief Diversity Officer at Facebook. It is a role which allows her to make international impact supporting the inclusion of underrepresented people and groups and ensuring that cognitive diversity—different ways of thinking based on varying backgrounds, experience and information—remains a visible priority for the mega-company.
Prior to Facebook, Ms. Williams worked as Global Director of Diversity Programmes at White & Case LLP, a large global law firm with a focus on cross-border expertise. At White & Case she worked out of both the US and Switzerland offices developing and implementing a diversity plan. An attorney, admitted to both the Trinidad and Tobago and the New York State Bars, she has also served as a United Nations Human Rights Consultant; managed a network of human rights organisations as Senior Manager with the Caribbean Human Rights Network; lectured at The UWI and spent over a decade in her parallel career as a broadcast journalist, producing television shows focused on social issues and penning opinion articles on issues of law and social justice.
Ms. Williams is a graduate of Yale University (1991), where for her Bachelor’s she created an interdisciplinary major in Caribbean Studies. She was also a Rhodes Scholar (1992) and at Oxford University she received her law degree completing a second a BA with First Class Honours (1995).
Mr. Stedson ‘Red Plastic Bag’ Wiltshire of Barbados for his work as an Entertainer – DLitt
Stedson ‘Red Plastic Bag’ Wiltshire is a Barbadian cultural ambassador. For almost two decades his performances, musical compositions and lyrics have thrilled Caribbean and international audiences as far as Canada, UK, China, Brazil, Australia, Germany and South Africa. He has performed on popular stages in the US including the Apollo Theatre, Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Center, and Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Regionally and locally he is a widely awarded entertainer and founding member and director of the Copyright Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. He has also served on the Barbados Copyright Tribunal and the Board of the Barbados Cultural Industries Agency. This pioneer of Ragga Soca has recorded 25 albums with a repertoire of over 400 songs, won the Barbados National Pic-O’-De-Crop Calypso competition 10 times, and has composed popular songs for acts like Alison Hinds, TC and Arrow of ‘Hot Hot’ fame. His music has successfully crossed over into film and other areas. Known internationally as the King of Ragga Soca, his song ‘Ragga Ragga’ is recorded in seven languages and featured alongside internationally acclaimed artistes like Celine Dion and Culture Club in Sony’s compilation Dance Pool – Volume 2. His music has also been featured on film and television including HBO, Discovery Channel and the Irish movie, The Sparrow’s Nest. Mr. Wiltshire himself has appeared in two movies.
In 2018, Mr. Wiltshire founded the Red Foundation with a focus on poverty relief, education and community development projects. He was also responsible for coordinating a programme called Tang Break where motivational speeches were delivered at more than 60 Barbadian primary schools. He continues to mentor youth across Barbados and conducts workshops on writing and composition regionally.
For his contributions to culture Mr. Wiltshire has received national honours, the Barbados Service Star (1995) and the Barbados Jubilee Honour (2016).
Mr. Alan Emtage of Barbados for Scientific Invention – DSc
Barbados-born Inventor, Alan Emtage has been dubbed the ‘Father of the Internet Search Engine’. Winner of the 1983 Barbados Scholarship, his secondary school education was at Harrison College (1975-1983).
In 1987 he received a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from McGill University, Montreal. In 1989, while pursuing his Master’s degree in Computer Science at the same university and working as a systems administrator for the School of Computer Science, Mr. Emtage conceived and implemented the first version of Archie – the world’s first internet search engine. The concept pioneered many of the techniques used by modern public search engines leading directly to today’s Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Mr. Emtage graduated with his Master’s degree in 1991.
In 1992, together with Peter J. Deutsch, he founded Bunyip Information Systems Inc., the world’s first company dedicated to providing internet information services. Bunyip went on to distribute a licensed commercial version of the Archie search engine.
A founding member of the Internet Society, Mr. Emtage has chaired several working groups at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), including one which established the standard for Uniform Resource Locators (URLs). He has lectured on Internet Information Systems and served on advisory panels for the National Science Foundation, the Library of Congress, and the Online Computer Library Center. He has been a partner and Chief Technical Officer at Mediapolis, Inc. a small web development firm in New York since 1998.
In 2017 Alan Emtage became the first Barbadian and Caribbean person inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame.
Mr. Patrick A. A. Hylton of Jamaica for his contribution the field of Finance – LLD
Patrick A. A. Hylton is a prolific leader in the Jamaican finance sector with over 30 years’ experience. His professional accolades include significant contributions to the rescue of Jamaica’s financial sector meltdown in the 1990s. The highly successful intervention effort was valued at JA $146 billion, 40% of GDP and involved the rehabilitation and management of 22 distressed financial sector groups with over 200 of their subsidiaries. For this, Mr. Hylton was awarded the Jamaican national honour of the Order of Distinction – Commander Class in 2002. He is also recognised for his work restoring the National Commercial Bank (NCB) and continues to serve as the President and Group Chief Executive Officer of NCB, now Jamaica’s largest financial conglomerate.
His service to the region includes his work as a Director of numerous regional companies including the West Indies Trust Company, American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) of Jamaica, Kingston City Centre Improvement Company, Massy Holdings Limited (Trinidad and Tobago), Economic Growth Council (Jamaica), Guardian Holdings Limited (Trinidad and Tobago) and Clarien Bank (Bermuda) in addition to eight NCB companies.
Mr. Hylton was Chairman of the Board of Management at the Mona School of Business and Management from 2015-2018 and maintains close ties with The UWI as a donor. In 2018, Mr. Hylton received the AMCHAM President’s Award.
He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Diploma, Banking – Chartered Institute of Bankers (ACIB) (London), both from the University of Technology in Jamaica.
Mrs. Thalia Lyn of Jamaica for Entrepreneurship – LLD
Thalia Lyn has made her mark as one of Jamaica’s most successful entrepreneurs and tireless philanthropists. Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Island Grill Restaurants, established in 1991, it is now a multi-billion-dollar enterprise with 19 stores across Jamaica and Barbados and a team of more than 900.
Her considerable business acumen is directed towards raising funds for education and community efforts. She is particularly proud of co-chairing the restoration of the murals of the Holy Trinity Cathedral, a National Heritage Site and currently chairs The National Commercial Bank Foundation, where, since 2003, she and her team have presided over approximately JA $2 billion in awards to education and youth development. In 2012, Mrs. Lyn co-chaired one of the most successful fundraisers for The UWI Mona Campus scholarship programme, The UWI/CB Group 5K and Smart Eggs Kids K. Committing Island Grill instantly, Mrs. Lyn then on-boarded the lead sponsor, the CB Group, and assisted in gathering a coalition of sponsors from the business, media and Diplomatic communities. Since the inaugural initiative, over 250 scholarships valued at JA $75 million have been awarded, with continued commitment from corporate Jamaica.
Among the boards on which she serves are: The NCB Financial Group; The National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited; Island Catering Limited; Island Grill Barbados Limited; Port Royal Patties Limited (London); Jamaica Macaroni Factory Limited; the Oracabessa Foundation and Devon House Development Limited. She has served as a Director for JAMPRO, the United Way of Jamaica, St. Patrick’s Foundation and Chaired the Jamaica British Business Association.
A passionate advocate for gender equality and persons with disabilities, Mrs. Lyn is a thrice repeated Patron of the UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, serves on the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) Gender and Disabilities Affairs Committee, and as a Director of Mustard Seed Communities. She is in the process of certifying Island Grill under the UNDP Gender Equality Seal, is a member of the UN Women Win-Win Movement and a past Go Red Ambassador for The Heart Foundation, raising awareness of heart disease—the number one killer of women.
Her achievements have been internationally recognised and she has been awarded, honoured and acknowledged for excellence in business, entrepreneurship, diplomacy, leadership and community service by organisations such as American Friends of Jamaica, Mustard Seed USA and Jamaica, Ernst & Young Caribbean, Florida International University, Consular Corps of Jamaica, Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Jamaica Observer, the Gleaner Company, Lay Magistrates’ Association, Immaculate Conception High School (ICHS) Hall of Fame and the Women’s Leadership Initiative.
In 2003, Mrs. Lyn was appointed Honorary Consul General for Jamaica to the Kingdom of Thailand and bestowed with the Commander of the Most Noble Order to the Crown of Thailand in 2004. In 2012 she was honoured with a Jamaican national award, the Order of Distinction. She is also a Justice of the Peace.
Reverend Dr. Burchell Taylor for Theology – LLD
Reverend Dr. Burchell Taylor is a servant leader, preacher, teacher, author, social justice advocate and international Christian scholar whose service to the public has primarily been through his service to the Church. He served at the Bethel Baptist Church in Jamaica for 47 years and is credited with the development of holistic ministry at the church—the practice of attending to the body, mind, and spirit. Under his leadership the church also prioritised ministry across denominational lines. He has also pastored a 3000-member congregation in Jamaica and previously served at the Porus Circuit of Baptist Churches in Manchester.
He graduated from Calabar Theological College in the 1960s and obtained a Bachelor of Divinity in Theology from London University as an external student. He went on to complete an MA in Theology at Oxford University and gained his PhD in Theology (Biblical Studies) from Leeds University.
In addition to his Pastoral and other ministry responsibilities, Reverend Dr. Taylor has authored several books and is published in several theology journals, including the Caribbean Journal of Religious Studies. He has served as Chaplain and Lecturer at the United Theological College of the West Indies (UTCWI); President of the Jamaican Baptist Union (JBU); President of the Caribbean Baptist Fellowship (CBF); executive member of the Jamaica Council of Churches and Vice President of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), an international association of Baptist denominations.
Reverend Dr. Taylor has done significant work shaping the fledging discipline of Caribbean Theology making him one of the founders of this branch of theology. For his outstanding service to Jamaica, in the area of religion, Reverend Dr. Taylor was awarded the Order of Distinction (CD) in the rank of Commander in 2000 and the Order of Jamaica in 2015.
Sir S. W. Tapley Seaton of Saint Kitts and Nevis for Public Service – LLD
Sir Samuel Weymouth Tapley Seaton, Governor-General of Saint Kitts and Nevis, has an enviable record of public as well as private sector service. An alumnus of The UWI and an attorney by profession, Sir Tapley has made his mark as a regional pioneer in the field. Admitted to practice Law in 1975 from among the first group of graduates of the Faculty of Law at The UWI Cave Hill Campus, he went on to become the first of the cohort to be appointed Attorney General (1980) at the age of 29 and was the youngest Attorney General in the Commonwealth. He served as Attorney General of Saint Kitts and Nevis for 15 years, becoming the longest serving Attorney General in the region. With his tenure spanning both the pre and post-independent Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sir Tapley also became the first Attorney General of the independent state having earlier served as Crown Counsel and Acting Registrar and Magistrate.
In 1985 Sir Tapley was awarded the rank of Commander of the Royal Victorian Order by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during a Royal visit to Saint Kitts and Nevis. In 1988 he was elevated to the rank of Silk (Queen’s Counsel) becoming the first graduate of the West Indian Law school to achieve the honour.
After his public service as Attorney General ended in 1995, Sir Tapley spent 20 years in private practice, during which time he served as a Director of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, a member of the Tripartite Committee (Government/Chamber/Trade Union) and a member of the Social Security Appeals Tribunal. Other prominent positions he has held include: President of the Saint Kitts and Nevis Bar Association; Director of the Saint Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce; President of the OECS Bar Association; 1st President of the Saint Christopher National Trust; Vice President of the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Society; and Chairman of The UWI Territorial Advisory Committee.
In September of 2015, Sir Tapley was appointed Governor-General of Saint Kitts and Nevis and later that year was conferred a knighthood by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. He continues to share his passion for law, history and conservation to enhance citizen patriotism.
St. Augustine Campus
Mr. Ewart Williams of Trinidad and Tobago for Leadership and his service to the region – LLD
Ewart Williams graduated from The UWI in 1968 with a BSc Economics (Hons) and an MSc Economics in 1970. In 1971 he joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) where he had a varied and impressive career spanning three decades. At the IMF, Mr. Williams was the main architect of the Caribbean Regional Technical Agency (CARTAC). CARTAC an IMF-sponsored training institution located in Barbados provides training and technical assistance to IMF member countries in the Caribbean. It has served as the model for regional training centres in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. Some of his other notable assignments at the IMF included appointments as IMF Resident Representative to Jamaica; Special Assistant to the Director of the African Department; Assistant Director in charge of Mexico and Deputy Director of the Western Hemisphere Department. As Deputy Director, he was one of a small Senior Management Team responsible for the Fund’s work in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In 2002 he retired from the IMF and took up the post of Governor of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago where he served two five-year terms. Under his leadership the Bank significantly upgraded its analytical capacity and expanded its publication of analytical and statistical reports. During his tenure, the Central Bank’s semi-annual Monetary Policy and Financial Stability reports became essential and sought-after documents for policy makers, investors and other key stakeholders.
Mr. Williams returned to his alma mater, The UWI in 2007 to serve as Chairman of the Audit Committee at the St. Augustine Campus (2007-2008) then Chairman of the St. Augustine Campus Council from 2009-2018. His service to Trinidad and Tobago also includes his contribution to the establishment of the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund where he served on the Board of Directors from 2007-2012 and as Chair of the Board from 2018 to present. Mr. Williams has also served as Macro-Economic Advisor to the Minister of Finance (2015-2018) and Chairman of the Green Fund Advisory Board (2016-2018). Mr. Williams received a UWI Distinguished Alumni Award (2011) and the Trinidad and Tobago Chaconia Medal (Gold) for Public Service (2018).
Mr. Pelham Goddard of Trinidad and Tobago for his work in music production and entertainment – DLitt
The name Pelham Goddard is synonymous with steelpan, calypso, and soca. This well-respected musician, arranger, producer, and composer has made his mark in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean music industry for over four decades. Born into a musical family, Mr. Goddard started playing the piano at age 10. In his early years, he learnt music by ‘ear’ and was consistently in demand as a keyboardist and bass player. This was until the 1970s when an opportunity to arrange for Clive Bradley’s Esquires Brass band, a Russel Garcia book, The Arranger, Composer and a correspondence course from Berkeley College of Music propelled him into the next level. He enhanced his knowledge of music theory, began writing and arranging music and joined the well-known Caribbean orchestra, Art DeCoteau.
Mr. Goddard was at the forefront of the experimentation that characterised the music of the 1970s and was the first to introduce the synthesiser to Calypso. He worked closely with musical greats such as Ed Watson aka Dr. Soca, Ras Shorty I and Lord Kitchener and in 1975 gave birth to the ‘Sensational Roots’ later renamed ‘Charlie’s Roots’. The band became internationally recognised for its calypso music and played at Carnivals and festivals across North and South America, Europe and the Caribbean. Mr. Goddard has arranged a record 13 Trinidad and Tobago Carnival road march winning songs, producing hits for Calypso Rose, Super Blue, Penguin, David Rudder and Christopher ‘Tambu’ Herbert.
As one of Trinidad and Tobago’s most recognised steelpan arrangers, Mr. Goddard first worked his magic with Third World Steel Orchestra, a spin off from Starlift Steel Orchestra, with whom he played his first National Panorama Steelpan competition. He went on to arrange for Third World Steel Orchestra, Invaders Steel Orchestra, Starlift Steel Orchestra and Exodus Steel Orchestra. Exodus has taken home first place Panorama titles four times with Goddard as arranger; the orchestra has also won multiple Panorama ‘East Zone’ titles and a World Festival Championship.
For his contribution to culture and the arts, Mr. Pelham Goddard was awarded Trinidad and Tobago’s national award, the Humming Bird Silver, in 1994.
Professor Emeritus Harold Ramkissoon of Trinidad and Tobago for his work as a Mathematician and his contribution to the development of Science and Technology in the Caribbean and beyond – DSc
From a young age, Professor Emeritus Harold Ramkissoon fostered a love for Math, first completing a BSc Honours in mathematics from The UWI Mona Campus then going on to receive an MSc at the University of Toronto and a PhD at the University of Calgary in the area of applied mathematics. Professor Ramkissoon’s work focuses on the practical, real-world application of mathematical concepts in the study of flows and fluids—particularly Non-Newtonian Fluids, Stability Analysis, Micro polar Fluids and Flow Past Spheroids.
Professor Ramkissoon has dedicated his life to instilling a deeper understanding of science and mathematics through research and teaching, and has lobbied for the harnessing of science and technology in the service of the Caribbean and its people. Through his career, first as a Lecturer and then Professor Emeritus, he has shared his passion with upcoming generations and in the process, became the first West Indian to be given a Personal Chair in Mathematics at The UWI.
For his contribution to the region, he has received numerous awards including the first CARICOM Science Award, the Chaconia Gold Medal (the second highest national award of Trinidad and Tobago) and the Academic Gold Medal of the Simon Bolivar University in Venezuela. He continues to play a role in the development of science and technology in the region and the world through his service in a number of capacities. These include his contribution as President of the Caribbean Academy of Science, President of the Caribbean Scientific Community, and Executive Member of both the Association of Academy of Sciences of the World (IAP) and the Inter American Network of Academies of Sciences (IANAS).
Professor Ramkissoon also served as an Independent Senator in the Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago from 2010-2013, where he used his platform to positively influence policies in his country and the Caribbean, especially on issues of social consequence. Throughout his political and academic careers, he has taken a deeply human approach to his work, while maintaining his devotion to the fields of Mathematics and Science.