February is an important, and busy, month at The UWI Mona Campus,–the oldest of the three (3) physical campuses—as we remember our founders and give thanks for their work in building our institution. It was in February 1950 that HRH Princess Alice was formally installed as the Chancellor of the then University College of the West Indies. It was in the month of February that two of the University’s great icons – Sir Philip Sherlock and Professor Rex Nettleford were born and it was also the month in which the latter died.
The records in the University Archives reveal that the University decided that the anniversary of the installation of Princess Alice as Chancellor would be celebrated annually as Commemoration Day. The first celebration was held in 1951 and the tradition has continued ever since. In 2001, the Campus extended it to include other events and now there is a whole week of activities under the theme Home Coming Activities. The week begins this year (2014) on February 9 with the Commemoration Service in the Chapel.
In honour of Philip Sherlock, the Cultural Centre named after him organizes an annual festival, including a lecture on his birthday (February 25). In honour of Rex Nettleford, the Foundation established to perpetuate his memory hosts a performance of the NDTC (February 11, this year) at the Little Theatre, in Kingston, Jamaica.
The records in the University Archives reflect all these activities – from the installation of the Chancellor in 1950 to programmes of ‘Home Coming” events and pictures and memorabilia of Rex Nettleford.
This year, the month of February has an added significance as Research Days will be held from February 19 to 21 under the theme Fostering Growth and Development in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) through Research” . The University is therefore showcasing its work to the wider community as it honours those who laid the foundations for the institution.