On January 7, 2012 the University marks an important milestone which will go largely unrecognized. It was on that day sixty five (65) years ago that the Provisional Council of the then University College of the West Indies had its first Meeting. The meeting was held at 13 East Street, in Kingston, the home of the British Council. Sadly, a car park now occupies the site so there is no physical reminder of the building. No plaque therefore can mark the spot.
However the Minutes of that meeting are preserved for posterity in the University Archives at Mona. Some of the names of the persons present – the “Founding Fathers” of the University are immortalized in present day “Uwee” such as in Sherlock Hall, Cave Hill, the Philip Sherlock Centre Mona, (named after Sir Philip Sherlock, later Vice Chancellor); Irvine Hall, Mona, (named after Sir James Irvine, Chairman of the Committee which recommended the establishment of the University); Taylor Hall, Mona, (named after Sir Thomas Taylor the first Principal and the chair of the Provisional Council).
Apart from Sherlock (Jamaica), the other West Indians present at the historic meeting as the nominees of their respective governments were:
- Hugh Springer (later Sir Hugh) of Barbados, the first Registrar of the UCWI and later Governor General of Barbados;
- Mr Sydney Christian of the Leeward Islands;
- Lenard (later Sir Lenard) Hannays, Trinidad & Tobago;
- Garnet (later Sir Garnet) Gordon, Windward Islands;
- Joseph Alexander Luckhoo, British Guiana, later Chief Justice of (now) Guyana
- and Dr. V. Anderson, British Honduras, now Belize.
These prominent men (there were no women delegates) were the architects of our regional university and should be remembered for their foresight and vision in laying the foundations of The University of the West Indies.