The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus, will host its grand Alumni Reunion, August 10-14, 2011. Dubbed 'Through the Decades', Reunion Week, an initiative of Mona graduates, is geared at rekindling and strengthening connections among alumni, between the alumni community and the UWI.
All proceeds from the week's activities will go towards funding scholarships, bursaries and meal vouchers for needy students.
Alumni Reunion 2011 week begins on Wednesday, August 10, with an opening ceremony and cocktail reception at the Old Still House Ruins, with entertainment by some exceptional student talents, supported by the University singers, and a special performance by Joan Andrea Hutchinson. On the occasion, the UWI will acknow-ledge the very first person to receive a certificate from the then University College of the West Indies, Mr Roy Bailey, while the UWI Alumni Association will present its prestigious Pelican Award to professor of child health, Maureen Samms-Vaughan.
On Thursday, August 11, UWI opens its doors for Campus Expo and Tours, and will also feature 'Blast from the Past', a cultural entertainment package at the Students' Union.
'Under the stars'
The Grand Reunion Dinner and Show, to be held on Friday, August 12, is dubbed 'Under the Stars', and promises to be a scintillating affair on the green carpet of Graduation Lawn. With alumnae such as Leighton McKnight, Dionne Jackson-Miller, Michael McNaughton, among others, doing reflections from the various halls of residence; and Minna Israel bringing balance and perspective, it promises to be a night of belly-bursting laughs, even while contemplative. Attendees will also enjoy performances from Tanya Stephens, Freddie McGregor, Ernie Smith and LUST.
On Saturday, August 13, the 'Show Yuh Colours' sports day will be hosted by Ambassador Courtney Walsh at the UWI Bowl. Later that evening, the Final Fête hosted on Taylor Hall, a long tradition of the UWI student body, gets underway.
The week of activities culminates on Sunday, August 14 at The Organ Recital, to be led by Dr Kola Owalabi, assistant professor of music and university organist at Syracuse University, at the University Chapel. It promises to be a musical feast. This is the first occasion at which the newly refurbished organ will be in use.
A number of hall-specific activities will enliven the week, including beach lymes, drink-ups, hikes and hall outreach/beautification projects, planned by respective hall alumni groups.
Each year, during the month of February, the UWI celebrates Alumni Week, now rebranded Homecoming Week. Richard Bailey, planning and alumni officer for UWI Alumni Reunion Week confirmed that the Mona campus alumni reunion week was requested by, and largely organised by the alumni, with full support from the university.
"The 2011 reunion was initiated by Taylor Hall. I was contacted by a fellow UWI graduate, Shelly-Ann Lawson-Francis of Taylor Hall, who told me of the intention to have a reunion in 2011. They wanted the campus' support to help make it a reality. Coming out of that conversation, we concluded that it would be an excellent opportunity for the campus to engage with graduates and re-establish contact for future engagements," he said.
Bailey was impressed with the passion of the alumni: "I recall Shelly-Ann encouraging me to try to get the other halls on board in reunions of their own at the same time. This was to provide the opportunity for cross-hall mingling and friendly rivalry, since many 'Taylorites' had friends on other halls that they would surely love to see again. The rest is history," he said.