By Devon Dick
Last Thursday, Edward Seaga, chancellor of the University of Technology (UTech), presided at the installation ceremony of Vivian Crawford as pro-chancellor of UTech. Crawford has the responsibility to chair the Council of UTech. Seaga, in a well-researched presentation on the history and role of chancellor, reminded the audience that a chancellor should represent the character brand of the institution. He or she should be honourable and knowledgeable. Crawford is all that and more.
Crawford is the longest-serving member of the Council, having started in 1991. He has served UTech with distinction as chairman of finance and honorary treasurer. When he assumed stewardship of the finances, it was in overdraft, and when he gave up, the coffers had $2 billion in investment income. The assets have also grown, including the acquisition of the president's residence. These achievements are not surprising since Crawford's background is in finance with a degree in economics and an MBA in finance, and having worked as general manager of retail banking for the eastern region for Jamaica Citizens' Bank.
As the character brand of UTech, Crawford brings a rich culture to the institution, he being a proud descendant of Maroons from Moore Town, Portland. He has served with distinction as executive director of the foremost cultural institution, the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ), for 12 years. During his tenure, he facilitated the restoration of Liberty Hall, the legacy of Marcus Garvey, National Hero, and the erection of a plaque in honour of Mary Seacole, outstanding Jamaican nurse. Crawford is also knowledgeable in matters of protocol and is from the same cloth as the indomitable Merrick Needham. When one attended a function at IOJ, it was well organised and attention was given to detail. One can expect that functions at UTech will be taken to another level.
As character brand of UTech, Crawford is an honourable man. He is known for impeccable integrity. There is never any hint of financial fraud when one speaks about Crawford. It would not surprise anyone to learn that he has forgone rightful benefits in his service to UTech. He goes beyond the call of duty in giving sacrificial service. He is very fortunate to have a wife such as Carva, who allows him too much space to engage in public service.
As UTech's character brand he is knowledge about rules, regulations and governance procedures of the university. He understands the importance of the only national university for Jamaica. His knowledge is more than book-deep. He carries within him the oral tradition and oral history of this country. Little known facts are at his fingertips. Important anecdotes are reeled off effortlessly. UTech is known for its emphasis on culture and it can only get better under Crawford's tenure. UTech is fortunate to have Seaga, Crawford and Errol Morrison, president, at the helm, each having an appreciation for the importance of culture to our development and to the education enterprise. They are aware of the importance of sports, music, arts and history to nation building. Do not be surprised if the Liberal Arts Department charts new grounds. Perhaps Crawford's major weakness is that he, as a cultural historian, has not put pen to paper of the knowledge he has that could be useful to this noble university.
Crawford is no ordinary musician. The UTech fanfare used during the ceremony was composed by him. The UTech march was composed by him. His appreciation for music of all types of arrangements and genres is beyond compare.
Equal to the task, Crawford, being honourable and knowledgeable, is well chosen as UTech's character brand.
Devon M. Dick, PhD, is pastor of Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew and author of 'Rebellion to Riot: The Jamaican Church in Nation Building', and 'The Cross and the Machette'. Send comments to email@example.com.