Thursday 29 October, 2020

Professor Richards’ contribution will keep UWI helping students

The University of the West Indies is mourning the loss of former President George Maxwell Richards, who served as Principal of the St. Augustine campus from 1985 to 1996. 

Speaking via a statement on his own behalf as well as on behalf of the St. Augustine Campus Community, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the St. Augustine Campus, Professor Brian Copeland, offered condolences to the family of Professor George Maxwell Richards. 

“As The University celebrates its 70 years of leadership and service to the Caribbean in 2018, it’s important to mark the immense contributions that Professor Richards made, both as an academic in the field of Chemical Engineering, and as Principal of this Campus. Indeed, he epitomised this 70th-anniversary theme by all that he did and continued to do during his presidency.”

In 1989, during his tenure as Campus Principal, he translated his love of Trinidad and Tobago and its culture into what is now a major annual fund-raiser of The UWI Development and Endowment Fund (UWIDEF).

The ‘UWI Fete’, which again takes place this Sunday, was his brainchild and was the very first public ‘all inclusive’ Carnival fete in Trinidad and Tobago. Carnival fetes offered by promoters have since emulated and adopted that 29-year-old template. 

At that time, the Caribbean and Latin America were in the midst of what was called the ‘Debt Crisis’ – incomes and imports dropped; economic growth stagnated; unemployment rose, and inflation reduced the buying power of the middle classes. 

Today, the ongoing economic downturn is compounded by the devastation wrought by climate change resulting in increasingly severe storms in the Caribbean. Now, like then, the impact of the economic scenario has been tremendous on students.

For more than two decades, thousands of students have benefitted from this signature event. In 1992, UWIDEF offered 19 bursaries; in 2017, that figure was 210. Among the many reasons for which The University and this region are grateful for the service of Professor George Maxwell Richards, this is surely a major one, the statement added. 

A Condolence Book will be opened at the Campus’ Main Administration Building between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. from January 10 to January 26.


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