Sir Andy Roberts humbled over UWI honorary degree selection

At Jumby Bay Resort Antigua on Wednesday, April 15, 2015. Photo by WICB Media/Randy Brooks of Brooks Latouche Photography
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By Carlena Knight

One of the two Antiguans who will be honored later this year by the University of the West Indies (UWI) said it was an “honor” to be chosen to receive such an accolade.

Sir Andy Roberts – former West Indies cricketer – will be among a list of 14 persons from across the Caribbean region to receive an honorary degree for his outstanding contributions to regional and international development through sports.

He spoke briefly, sharing how he felt once he received the news, and what it means to join other Antiguan sportsmen who have received the same honor.

“I felt that it was an honor, and you know, I appreciate anything that is given to me because of my contribution towards the game of cricket and towards the development of Antigua and Barbuda. There’s so many outstanding sportsmen that were given this accolade,” Roberts said.

Throughout his lifetime, Sir Andy has received a number of honors and awards, but when reflecting on his illustrious career, he says his highlight was representing his country, and being the first to do so.

“Well, to represent Antigua, because in those days remember that no one knew that we had good cricketers in the region except for maybe Sir Frank Worrell, and I know for a fact they had far better fast bowlers than myself in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, and to be the first one I felt, it was an honor. I just hope that we can continue the trend to produce great cricketers and great fast bowlers,” he added.

Sir Andy is a former Antiguan first-class cricketer who is considered the father of modern West Indian fast bowling.

He played Test cricket for the West Indies, twice taking seven wickets in a Test innings.

 He is the first Antiguan to play Test cricket for the West Indies, leading the way for many of his famous countrymen including Sir Vivian Richards, Sir Richie Richardson and Sir Curtly Ambrose.

 In October 2005, Roberts was inducted into the United States Cricket Hall of Fame, while in 2009, he was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.

His contribution to West Indies cricket has continued since his retirement as a player, as he had been an administrator overseeing the preparation of pitches. 

Roberts also worked with Bangladesh’s fast bowlers in 2001 and again in 2005, and also helped coach India’s seam bowling all-rounder, Irfan Pathan, in 2006.

He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Nation (KCN) by the Antiguan Barbudan government on 28 February 2014.

Roberts, along with Dr George Mansoor, were the two countrymen selected for this degree.

Both men will receive their honorary degrees on October 10 at the UWI Five Islands Campus.

Dr. Mansoor will receive a Doctor of Science, and Sir Andy, a Doctor of Laws.

Nominations from across The UWI’s five campuses were approved by the University Council at its sitting on April 30, 2021.

 These 2021 graduands will join a list of over 450 honorary degree recipients conferred by the regional university since 1965.  

Last month, a special convocation was permitted to confer an Honorary Doctor of Science degree (DSc) on Dr Ruby Lake-Richards, one of the first 33 medical students who attended the UWI, then called the University College of the West Indies.

Now 99 years old, she is also the first female UWI graduate from Antigua and Barbuda.

The ceremony hosted by The UWI Five Islands marked the first honorary degree awarded at the university’s newest campus.

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