The Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies is now half a century old. This institution of higher learning commenced its operation as a College of Arts and Science on Saturday, October 12, 1963 (and was “upgraded” to become a full campus of the University of the West Indies in 1972).
Its mandate was to provide quality tertiary level education for the citizens of Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Cave Hill Campus notes that, “Some of the finest minds in the region were mobilized to give shape and form to this eruption in capacity building. Vice Chancellor Sir Arthur Lewis had bequeathed to his successor Sir Philip Sherlock, a strategic plan for university expansion in the Eastern Caribbean.
We commend these Caribbean luminaries for the insights they displayed and the proactive stance that they championed to create and sustain such a noble institution that has chartered a path to prosperity for the people of the region. The Cave Hill Campus, through successive visionary leadership, continues to plan a course that propels the institution and its various stakeholders to new heights of excellence.
It is therefore not surprising that the Campus has received international recognition in a variety of fields. The university has also attracted international students and regularly receives invitations from reputable universities throughout the world that wish to partner with it. These initiatives testify of the very high respect that the institution holds.
Many of our outstanding leaders in business and government throughout the Eastern Caribbean are graduates of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies. Many of their leadership and management skills have been honed at UWI. And it is at this institution that regional and international networks were created and/or strengthened. A visit to their website will provide ample evidence of the number of outstanding individuals that have graduated from this institution of higher learning (http://www.cavehill.uwi.edu/alumni/achievers.asp).
These outstanding and accomplished alumni emerged from the Faculty of Humanities & Education, the Faculty of Pure & applied Sciences, the Faculty of law, the Faculty of Medical Sciences, the Faculty of Social Sciences, and the Institute for Gender and Development Studies.
The UWI’s mission statement is: “To advance the education and create knowledge through excellence in teaching, research, innovation, public service, intellectual leadership and outreach in order to support the inclusive (social, economic, political, cultural, environmental) development of the Caribbean region and beyond”. The faculty and staff at the various campuses of the University of the West Indies continue to do this well … and to make us proud as they perform their duties in an exemplary manner.
Amidst the numerous challenges (especially limited finances) they continue to go beyond the call of duty as they seek to ensure that they bring the university to the people of the region. The Open Campus of the University of the West Indies, considered to be the fourth campus, is particularly focused on such outreach programmes.
The level of enrollment at the Cave Hill Campus during the period 2000 to 2012 is worth noticing: a total of 3,938 undergraduate students were enrolled in 2000 (890 in Humanities and Education, 347 in Law, 78 in Medical Sciences, 890 in Science and Technology and 1,733 in Social Sciences). That number consistently increased over the years and in 2011 the number of undergraduate students who enrolled totaled 8,841 (1.330 in Humanities and Education, 671 in Law, 337 in Medical Sciences, 1,270 in Science and Technology and 5,233 in Social Sciences).
An examination of the data related to post graduate studies also reflect a steady increase in the number of citizens pursuing such studies at Cave Hill.
It is probably useful to end this article by revisiting a most useful statement that was made by the Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow when he addressed the graduation class at the Cave Hill Campus in 1968. He said, “When we speak of bringing the University to the people, we should not only mean that more and more people should directly as student enjoy its facilities, we should also intend that the citizens of the region should be encouraged to regard the university as their most important asset.
We cannot rightly urge them to sacrifice for it merely by pointing with pride to its facilit ies or to its achievements or even its international standing. They must feel for the University the same concern which the fortunes of sugar, tourism and industrial development engender. They must be helped to know, as a settled conviction, that the efficient growth of the University is almost their only path to prosperity.” We, the people of the region, will be forever grateful to the administrators, planners, faculty and staff at the UWI whose insights and dedicated service have enabled our people to chart courses on the path to prosperity.