Monday, July 15, 2013

UVI Captures its History in “Proud We Are”

Golden Jubilee historical publication on sale in UVI Bookstores.
In celebration of the University of the Virgin Islands’ 50th Anniversary Jubilee, the University commissioned the creation of “Proud We Are, The History of the University of the Virgin Islands, 1962 – 2012.” This 104 page book encapsulates UVI’s creation, growth and accomplishments – complete with 300 historical photos. The book was written by Dr. Erika Waters, professor emeritus and former editor of “The Caribbean Writer.” It was designed by Quilin Mars, former assistant editor of “The Caribbean Writer.”

 “Now, at last, UVI has an historical archive, both photographic and factual,” says Dr. Waters. “Readers will now know of the political struggle that went into the University’s founding, for example, and see, for the first time, photos of all the Miss UVI Queens together in one chapter. Readers will, undoubtedly, take pride in the University’s impressive half-century of progress, but I hope they will also recognize old friends and colleagues and recall many fond memories.”

The creation of “Proud We Are” was a labor of love. Waters contacted several individuals from the past 50 years to request photos, corroborate facts and solicit quotations. She says she struggled to get all the names and the details of the history right. “In the end over 80 individuals, representing the entire university community contributed to this book,” says Dr. Waters. “It quite simply couldn't have been done without them. Quilin Mars outdid herself.” She says “she took over when the original graphic designer resigned for personal reasons, and she did an amazing job.”

 The book focuses on several important points in UVI’s history. It captures UVI’s creation, the transition from the College of the Virgin Islands to UVI, the creation of various facilities, the effects of natural disasters on the University, UVI’s Queens and the direction each president took the University.

“It is so unique and interesting,” says Interim Dean of College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Dr. Simon Jones-Hendrickson, co-chair of the Golden Jubilee Operations committee and UVI professor of economics. “For those of us that were students and are now faculty members it really captures the whole history.” He says that for persons that were not around, it allows them to know where they come from. “I think it is a good first start in the history of this institution,” says Dr. Jones-Hendrickson, who has many hopes for UVI’s future. In the next five years, he wants UVI to have two doctoral programs, a greater presence on St. Croix, a more in-depth online presence, more memorandums of understanding with schools in the Eastern Caribbean and wants more local students to attend UVI. “I am happy about what I see,” says Dr. Jones-Hendrickson. “I am happy that I spent all the time here. I have been a part of this institution and it has been a part of me.”

Dr. Jones-Hendrickson wants UVI to continue to change in a positive way. “I think to a large extent if we are not changing we are static,” he says. “If you’re static it means you are not growing and that is not very good at all.” Dr. Jones-Hendrickson says continued change is necessary, but it must be change that is critical to the growth in the region and be sensible change.

Editor’s Note: “Proud We Are” is available at the University of the Virgin Islands’ Bookstores on both campuses. Call (340) 693-1561 on the St. Thomas Campus or (340) 693-4162 on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix to reserve you copy today.