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The Classics

UWI goes pro, bags a princess for its first Chancellor

Published:Thursday | February 18, 2021 | 10:39 PM

The University of the West Indies started as a College and had to wait for its status as a recognised University like everybody else. The Gleaner was there when the institution made its biggest step towards earning its status in 1949. Interestingly, that status was helped in no small way by a certain princess.

Published January 11, 1949


Princess Alice named first Chancellor

A Royal Charter has been granted by the King to the University College

of the West Indies. His Majesty has graciously agreed to accept the Visitor of the College, and has appointed Her Royal Highness Princess Alice of Athlone to be its first Chancellor.

Thus, the Jamaica-established College which began classes in October 1948,

has moved well forward towards full status as an independent University with the announcement of these important developments.

Full legal status

Granting of the Royal Charter has given the College full legal status as an incorporated body. By acceptance of the office of Visitors of the College, His Majesty has identified his interest in the future of the University. Princess Alice’s appointment as Chancellor places her as head of the University College.

She will also be president of the Council which has the responsibility of general management, and also of the Senate which controls academic matters. Another post which she assumes as Chancellor is that of president of the Guild of Graduates which will include graduates of recognised university resident in the Caribbean and which are represented on the Council.

Principal of the College is Dr. T. W. J. Taylor, CBE, M.A., formerly Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford. The Medical Faculty of the College has already begun work with about thirty students pursuing a medical course. The Extra-Mural Department under its director, Mr. P. M. Sherlock, has appointed resident tutors throughout the British Caribbean area, and an institute of Social and Economic Research is being established.

Plans for the inauguration of other faculties and for building construction are going forward.

Interest in Education

       Princess Alice has been intimately identified with university education for many years. She was chairman of the Board of Governors of Royal Holloway College, one of the constituents colleges of the London University.

       She was married in 1904 to the Earl of Athlone, a great grandson of George III, who himself is closely identified with university education since he holds the post of Chancellor of the University of London.

       The new Chancellor has several times visited the island. The long-standing connection between Canada and the Caribbean Colonies is also fully represented as Princess Alice entered fully into Canadian life during the time when the Earl of Athlone was Governor General for the Dominion.