UWI St. Augustine Campus celebrates 60th Anniversary

Campus Principal reflects on successes and challenges

The UWI St. Augustine Campus kicked off the commemoration of its 60th Anniversary on Monday, October 12 with Founders Day. The anniversary is being recognised under the theme Our Pelican Pride: Celebrating 60 Years. The theme reflects UWI St Augustine’s beginning as an agricultural university and its focus on innovating for the next generation

On October 12th, 1960, Patrick Buchan-Hepburn – Lord Hailes – who was first and last Governor-General of the soon to be defunct West Indies Federation, formally handed over the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture to the University College of the West Indies. The handover took place at Queen’s Hall. The St. Augustine Campus became the second campus of what would become The University of the West Indies, following the Mona Campus in 1948. Today, there are five campuses, including Cave Hill, Five Islands and the Open Campus.

Reflecting on the campus’ rise to success, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal Professor Brian Copeland said, “Looking back, we can take pride in our St. Augustine story – in the remarkable successes of our faculty, research, students and alumni – developing new technologies and cutting-edge research, fighting for the rights of our Caribbean people, at the frontlines fighting this COVID-19 pandemic, advocating and informing climate change policy, winning Paralympic medals, shaping our cultural landscape – and so much more in our 60 years.”

However, Professor Copeland admitted the journey was not without obstacles, “Over the decades, we have faced down many challenges as part of our story. I dare say none worse than what 2020 has presented. Once again, the St. Augustine Campus community hunkered down and ensured students, faculty, and staff remained safe and we were able to use our knowledge and research for the benefit of Trinidad and Tobago. We are transforming so as to thrive in the virtual environment of the new normal.”

The campus has grown far beyond the boundaries of its St. Augustine base. It encompasses also the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, the School of Nursing in El Dorado, the Department of Creative and Festival Arts on Cheeseman Avenue, the Agricultural Innovation Park in Orange Grove and of course, most recently, the Penal-Debe home of the South Campus earmarked to anchor the UWI Global School of Medicine.

“This milestone celebration, therefore, is one in which students, faculty and staff, past and present, must share. We have together created a community that has spread its knowledge, its research, and its achievements across the Caribbean and around the world,” said Professor Copeland.

A special commemorative logo has been designed to mark the occasion which uses the pelican, one of The University of the West Indies’ most important symbols, standing atop UWI’s coat of arms. It symbolises “pious care for the young” according to Sir Thomas Taylor, first principal of the University College of the West Indies. Like the pelican, for its six decades the St Augustine Campus has nurtured and developed generations of Caribbean youth.

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