Sylvester shines with honorary doctorate - Mico awards former teacher, now real estate developer
Sylvester Tulloch was planning to read for his PhD when he received a call from his alma mater, The Mico University College, that he would be conferred with an honorary Doctorate of Education in Leadership.
Tulloch, a real estate developer, walked on stage with pride as he collected his honorary doctorate during the college's 2018 graduation ceremony recently.
"I was really surprised when I was told. As a matter of fact, I was in a meeting and somebody hinted to me. I was taken aback. I was not expecting that, but I just took it in stride, because sometimes when you are there working, you are not looking for any reward, but sometimes it does happen, people are taking notes," Tulloch told The Sunday Gleaner.
Chairman and chief executive officer of Kemtek Development and Planning, Tulloch, who last year was conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander (CD), for contribution to Housing Development and the Mico Foundation, grew up in Brown's Hall, St Catherine, with his 10 siblings, his mother, who was a housewife, and his father, who was a farmer.
According to Tulloch, his parents instilled the value of education in their children.
"My parents were very much interested in education and the church and they tried their very best to give us the best in terms of that. We had a solid foundation. Both parents were there for us and we were well provided for," said Tulloch.
He went to school in the community before moving on to Mico, where he earned a certificate in teacher education. Tulloch went on to earn a bachelor's degree in economics from The University of the West Indies and a MBA from Barry University in Florida.
He worked as a teacher for a short while before he developed an allergy to chalk dust and had to stop working in the sector. He also worked in the Data and Evaluation Unit in the Ministry of Agriculture, at the Jamaican Development Bank, and at the Agricultural Credit Bank.
His company Kemtek has built more than 4,000 houses and now employs more than 400 persons directly and indirectly.
Tulloch is the chairman of the Mico Foundation and the college has benefited from a scholarship fund amounting to $1 million over the last six years.
He has also contributed approximately $3 million in scholarship to individuals to help fund their education and is in the process of donating a health centre to the Brown's Hall community.
A deacon and a lay preacher at the Phillippo Baptist Church, Tulloch has four sons who all have multiple degrees. His wife died four years ago.
"I make sure that my children are well educated. I think I have achieved all that I have set out to achieved, the honorary degree is a fulfilment of my dreams in that I put a very high value on education," said Tulloch.
He is urging young people to have a good sense of direction, not to be distracted by the noise around them and to stay focused.
"Don't take the shortcut. I remember when I was going to school, there were guys who I would have considered bright, but they wanted to go and get money easily so they didn't continue to study and do well. An education is the best way.
"My parents were behind us all the way because they wanted the best for us. So at all times, we were being taught that education is the way out," added Tulloch.