The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Professor Ihron Rensburg, will acknowledge with an honorary doctoral degree by the University of the West Indies (UWI) during its 2017 graduation ceremonies.
Prof Rensburg, who is widely acknowledged for his policy, strategy, leadership, and managerial skills, ably demonstrated during his stewardship of South Africa’s post-apartheid education policy, legislation and programmes, as well as during the complex merger that led to the creation of UJ, is one of 12 recipients – including individuals of eminence in the arts, sciences and other fields of intellectual endeavour, as well as persons who have made outstanding regional or international contributions.
As an anti-apartheid activist and leader, Prof Rensburg spearheaded local and regional teachers’ and students’ movements and was elected leader in various civic organisations. He is, together with the Deputy Minister of Education, Co-Chairperson of Education Dialogue South Africa, a forum that brings together South Africa’s leading thinkers and civil society organisations to map and support education improvement initiatives.
UWI’s 2017 graduation ceremonies will see new Chancellor, Robert Bermudez presiding over the ceremonies and conferring honorary doctoral degrees. The ceremonies are scheduled for October 14 at the Open Campus; October 21 at the Cave Hill Campus; October 26-28 at the St Augustine Campus, and November 3-4 at the Mona Campus.
The other Honorary Doctoral Degree recipients are:
Ms Kaye Foster – LLD
Ms Kaye Foster is a growth leader and business builder. As the senior executive for human resources in top tier companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Onyx Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer, Ms Foster has had responsibility for human resources around the world and in so doing, delivered on company strategy as it relates to culture, structure, process, and people. She is currently a business adviser, working with CEOs and leadership teams, focusing on business transformations, talent management strategy and human resources strategy development.
Ms Foster has an MBA from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Baruch College in New York City. She sits on several boards, including: Agios; Stanford Healthcare; Valley Care Health System; and Grail, Inc. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of Spelman College in Atlanta, and chairs the Board of Trustees of the Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco.
Dame Selma Udine Jackman – DSc
Dame Selma Udine Jackman is known as being among the first Caribbean-born, female surgeons to have qualified and worked in the region.
She earned her MBBS degree at The UWI Mona Campus after being awarded a Barbados Government Exhibition and graduated in 1976. During her studies she received the following honours: Best Clinical Student; the Leonard De Cordova Medal for Experimental Physiology, and the Preclinical Medal in Biochemistry. This medal in Biochemistry gave her a one-year scholarship to pursue a degree in Biochemistry in Relation to Medicine at the University of Leeds, England. She completed her undergraduate medical degree at The UWI, graduating with an honours degree in 1976. Her surgical training at the QEH, Barbados gained her admission to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1981. She was then trained in Paediatric Surgery at University Hospital, Mona, Jamaica and in 1985, a one-year British Commonwealth Fellowship allowed her to gain further Paediatric Surgical experience at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children and Great Ormand Street in London and at the Bristol Children’s Hospital. She returned to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 1986 and has provided general and paediatric surgery services to local and referred patients from other Caribbean islands.
Throughout her career she became known for her holistic approach to patient care. Her focus was on ensuring that all patients received the necessary and the best care the health system could afford and that this care was delivered with compassion and concern for their comfort, privacy and dignity. She is also credited for having trained many doctors in the profession.
In celebration of Barbados’ 50th Anniversary of Independence in 2016, she was titled Dame of St Andrew by the Barbados Government, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the medical profession.
Ms Edwidge Danticat – DLitt
Edwidge Danticat was born in Haiti in 1969 and moved to the United States when she was twelve years old. Growing up surrounded by storytellers, she began writing at the age of nine. As an immigrant teenager in the United States, she turned to literature to better understand both countries. At Barnard College in New York, Ms Danticat earned a BA in French Literature; and later, at Brown University, a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Ms Danticat has taught creative writing at the New York University and the University of Miami and has worked with Haitian and American filmmakers, Jonathan Demme and Patricia Benoit, on documentary projects related to Haiti. Her essays and short stories have appeared in over 50 periodicals and her books have been translated into twelve languages, including Japanese, French, Korean, German, Italian, Spanish, and Swedish. Among her several awards are the 1999 American Book Award, the Italian Super Flaiano Prize, the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award, the 2008 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the 2011 OCM Bocas Non-fiction Prize for Caribbean Literature. She has previously received honorary degrees from Brown University, Smith College, and Yale University.
Professor Emeritus John Edward Greene, AA – LLD
Professor John Greene has just ended a six-year tenure as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV in the Caribbean. He has a long regional and international career in academia, social sector development, poverty alleviation, organisational development and AIDS.
Professor Greene has a PhD in International Relations/Political Science from the University of British Columbia; an MA in Political Economy from McMaster University; and a BSc in Economics from London University. His academic contributions, including 10 books and more than 50 articles, supported his establishing tenure at The University of the West Indies.
As Assistant Secretary-General at the CARICOM Secretariat from 2000-2010, Professor Greene crafted the blueprint for the Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS which was recognised in 2004 as an international best practice in the response to HIV/AIDS. He also played a leading role in the establishment of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in 2013.
For his contribution to the region in health, HIV and human and social development, the Government of Suriname invested Professor Greene with its second highest national honour, Grand Officer in the Order of the Yellow Star, in 2010. That same year, the Caribbean Youth Ambassadors Corps bestowed on him the Lifetime Youth Award for his pioneering role in the region’s youth and development agenda. He is also the recipient of national honours in the Order of Golden Arrow from the Republic of Guyana, the PAHO/WHO Distinguished Award and the Sir Philip Sherlock Award for Excellence in 2011, and the Caribbean American Heritage Award for Distinguished Public Service in 2016.
Mr Wesley J. Hall, ICD.D – LLD
Wesley J. Hall is Executive Chairman and Founder of Kingsdale Advisors, a leader in shareholder advisory services and proxy solicitation in North America, with offices in Toronto and New York. He has led some of the highest profile deals and proxy contests in North America, including Tim Hortons’ $12.5 billion merger with Burger King; Pershing Square Capital Management’s campaign to replace the board of Canadian Pacific Railway; and Petro Canada’s $19 billion merger with Suncor Energy.
Mr Hall received the designation ICD.D from the Institute of Corporate Directors in partnership with the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management in 2011 and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2009 award for Ontario. He is a founding board member of the Canadian Society of Corporate Secretaries and is a director of the SickKids Foundation.
Mr Antony Hart, CD. JP – LLD
In Jamaica, Antony ‘Tony’ Hart, Chairman of the Hart Group, is considered a legend of his time—a humanitarian, philanthropist, and visionary. Mr. Hart is the recipient of Jamaica’s Commander of the Order of Distinction (CD), and Order of Jamaica (OJ), and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica in 2013. He also has honorary doctorates from both the University of Technology and Northern Caribbean University in Jamaica.
The establishment of Montego Freeport was his idea and vision. Its development, the largest of its kind in Jamaica at the time, would change Montego Bay forever. Some 50 years later, Montego Bay has grown exponentially and is dubbed the island’s tourism capital and the commercial centre of western Jamaica.
Among his humanitarian initiatives is his plan to computerise one local primary school each year so as to ensure Jamaican students’ readiness for the global labour market. He is coordinator of the mentorship programme at the Montego Bay campus of The University of the West Indies and heads a group of prominent business people and professionals who have committed to sharing their time and expertise.
Ms Olive Senior – DLitt
Ms Olive Senior is a poet, novelist, short story and non-fiction writer. As a Commonwealth scholar, she attended Carleton University School of Journalism in Ottawa, Canada. She also studied journalism as a Thomson Scholar at the Thomson Foundation in Cardiff, Wales, and book publishing under UNESCO auspices at the Institute of Mass Communications, University of the Philippines.
In 1987, Ms Senior won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for her first collection of stories Summer Lightning. Subsequent awards have included Hawthornden Fellow, Scotland, in 1994; Dana Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing and International Education, 1994-1995, St. Lawrence University, New York; F.G. Bressani Literary Prize for Gardening in the Tropics 1995; Norman Washington Manley Foundation Award for Excellence, 2003; the 1988 Silver and the 2004 Gold Musgrave Medal of the Institute of Jamaica; Humanities Scholar, The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados in 2005; Isabel Sissons Canadian Children’s Story Award, 2011; OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, winner of non-fiction category, 2015; and the 2016 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, winner of fiction category and overall winner.
Ms Hazel Brown – LLD
Since 1969, social activist, Hazel Brown, has been professionally involved in research, social development, and community organisation, with a focus on poverty eradication, consumer affairs and gender equity. To these ends, Ms Brown has been in the forefront of educational and awareness-raising activities, often in collaboration with government, CARICOM, the Commonwealth and UN agencies.
Her passion for her work in the field has seen her working with women’s organisations and leaders in all Commonwealth Caribbean countries on consumer affairs, politics, development, and gender equity issues. She is a founding member and co-ordinator of the Network of NGOs of Trinidad and Tobago for the Advancement of Women, formed in 1985 to present the position of women in Trinidad and Tobago at the End of Decade Conference in Nairobi. A past Secretary General of the Commonwealth Women’s Network, she has been engaged in Commonwealth activities since the first Commonwealth People’s Forum at the Caribbean Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Harare in 1991.
Her publications include A Study of Diabetes and Hypertension in Women 25 years and over in Trinidad and Tobago and Annual Women’s Diary 1977-2016. She also co-authored the Role of Working Women in Early Childhood Education in Trinidad and Tobago.
Mr Winsford Devine – DLitt
Music, particularly steelband music, has entranced Winsford Devine since the age of ten. It signalled a prolific career as a composer and arranger that spans more than 40 years and in excess of 500 calypsoes. In the early days, Mr Devine would write a tune using his tenor pan, play it over and over until the melody was fixed in his mind, after which he would try to find the words. Later, during the 1980s, he averaged some 40 calypsoes per season. He would strum two or three chords on the guitar and a melody along with at least one verse and chorus would simply emerge.
Also known as the ‘Joker’, a sobriquet Winsford Devine gave himself when he considered performing in the calypso tents, many of his compositions are now considered classics. These include most of Sparrow’s calypsoes of the 1970s and 1980s, including, Rope, Capitalism Gone Mad, Phillip My Dear, Saltfish, Marajhin’, Survival (which won Sparrow’s last crown); Baron’s Feeling It, Jammer; and Machel Montano’s early hit, Too Young To Soca. He still considers Progress as one of his very best creations.
In 1988, his talent was recognised when he received the Trinidad and Tobago’s Humming Bird Medal (Silver) for Music and the Arts.
Mr Andrew Marcano – DLitt
If you look for Andrew Marcano’s Twitter handle @LordSuperior, you will see his self-description: “I am the longest performing Calypsonian in Trinidad and Tobago (the land of Calypso) and very likely the planet”. For more than six decades, Mr Marcano has embodied every aspect of the Calypso art form; a lyrical genius, brilliant musical composer and producer, charismatic performer who is a master of extempore, a visionary and entrepreneur, a truly outstanding Trinidad and Tobago cultural icon.
He has always gone beyond the traditional path of calypsonians and chosen a multi-faceted path. The first calypsonian to produce his own hit on his very own label (La Carib), his calypso classics include Coconut, Spread Joy, San Fernando Carnival, Saga Ting, Standardise Pan, Respect Calypsonians, Long Live Calypso, and Cultural Assassination. Later, he would be the first calypsonian to perform at Madison Square Garden in New York in 1968. In 2001, he was co-producer of the award-winning documentary, Calypso Dreams, which chronicles the art form of calypso in Trinidad and Tobago.
In 2015, Trinidad and Tobago awarded him the Hummingbird Medal of the Order of the Trinity (Silver) for Culture and the Trinidad and Tobago Publishers and Broadcasters Association presented him with a Media Pioneer Award for his role as a radio liberalisation advocate.
Professor Emeritus Clem Seecharan – DLitt
His father once declared that there were books everywhere so he had to build a bookcase to hold all Professor Clem Seecharan’s books as a child. Such avid reading would eventually turn him into a distinguished historian and writer of the Indo-Caribbean experience and of West Indies cricket.
Professor Seecharan received his BA (Social Anthropology) and MA (Social Anthropology/History) from McMaster University in Canada, and he taught Caribbean Studies at the University of Guyana. He attained his PhD at the University of Warwick, the first doctoral graduate of the Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies. Now Emeritus Professor of History at London Metropolitan University, he was the Head of Caribbean Studies there for nearly twenty years. He was the first person to teach a course, in the UK, on the history of Indians in the Caribbean and the history of West Indies cricket.
Professor Seecharan is the author of several acclaimed books that include ‘Tiger in the Stars’: The Anatomy of Indian Achievement in British Guiana, 1919-29; Bechu: ‘Bound Coolie’ Radical in British Guiana, 1894-1901; Sweetening Bitter Sugar: Jock Campbell, the Booker Reformer in British Guiana, 1934-66 (awarded the Elsa Goveia Prize in 2005 by the Association of Caribbean Historians); Muscular Learning: Cricket and Education in the Making of the British West Indies at the End of the 19th Century; From Ranji to Rohan: Cricket and Indian Identity in Colonial Guyana, 1890s-1960s; Mother India’s Shadow over El Dorado: Indo-Guyanese Politics and Identity, 1890s-1930s; Finding Myself: Essays on Race, Politics and Culture; and Hand-in-Hand History of Cricket in Guyana, 1865-97 (the first of three volumes).