FROM COMMEMORATION DAY TO HOMECOMING CELEBRATIONS

From February 10 to February 13, 2011 the Mona Campus hosted “Homecoming Celebrations 2011” to commemorate the establishment of the University.  Included in the activities were a Parade and Flag Raising Ceremony and a Commemoration Church Service.  However did you know that the idea of having activities to celebrate the University’s establishment is not new as it dates back to the early 1950’s?

The records in the Archives reveal that the University decided that the anniversary of the installation of the first Chancellor of the University on February 16, 1950 would be celebrated annually as Commemoration Day. Classes were only held half day, for as the records state “The Principal asks that no instruction be given from noon onwards on that day”.  A  Commemoration Day Church Service was  held on the Sunday closest to February 16th  and the earliest church programme we have in the Archives is dated 1954.

The first celebration was held in 1951 and the tradition has continued ever since. In 2001, the Campus extended it to include other activities such as a flag raising ceremony and the honouring of a distinguished alumni or member of staff.

In the 1950’s Commemoration Day activities were very sedate and they often included a cricket match and a reception at the Principal’s Residence.  Princess Alice, the Chancellor was usually present as she was in Jamaica for the annual meeting of Council which used to be held in February.

The First Chancellor, H.R.H. Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone (Source: "UWI: A Photographic Journey", 1998)

The First Chancellor, H.R.H. Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone (Source: “UWI: A Photographic Journey”, 1998)

OoA Staff Mtg @ Archives 015

The First Chancellor, H.R.H. Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone (Source: “UWI: A Photographic Journey”, 1998)

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