Six women make history as first graduands at UWI Five Islands

Launée Richards is the first valedictorian of The UWI Five Islands Campus. (Photo courtesy The UWI)
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Graduation season for The University of the West Indies (The UWI) commences this weekend on Sunday, January 10 at the Five Islands Campus in Antigua and Barbuda.

Six women have made history as the first graduands from The UWI’s newest campus which was established in 2019. They will join thousands across the regional university graduating this month in ceremonies rescheduled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Launée Richards has the distinction of being The UWI Five Islands’ first valedictorian. She is also already a UWI alumna, having earned her undergraduate degree at the Cave Hill Campus in 2015. The other notable women are Jerushah Baynes, Netisha Alie-Grant, Shanique Gumbs, Marsha Lay-Jarvis and Lakiesha Mack,” a release from The UWI said yesterday.

The six who are all candidates from the Postgraduate Diploma in Education programme, will participate in an intimate, socially distant celebration held on the campus grounds, during which Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne will deliver the feature address for the historic occasion.

Meanwhile, Chair of The UWI Five Islands Campus Council, Aziz Fares Hadeed, CBE, will preside over the ceremony, substituting for Chancellor of The UWI, Robert Bermudez, who will confer the degrees virtually.

Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda His Excellency Sir Rodney Williams GCMG, KGN, KSt.J, MBBS, PhD (h.c.) will also be in attendance.

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal, Professor Densil A Williams noted that this weekend is a proud moment for the Campus and the wider UWI as it continues to facilitate citizens of the region to realise their potential through excellent education and training for participation in the global world. He noted that the achievement of these women is a manifestation that the Access revolution—a key pillar of The UWI Triple A strategy which underpins the operationalisation of the Campus—is being realised. 

The UWI continues its tradition of broadcasting the series of ceremonies from start to end, via its public information platform, UWItv. Well-wishers across the OECS can tune in to watch The UWI Five Islands graduation ceremony on Sunday, January 10 from 1:00 pm (Eastern Caribbean/AST) online, UWItv’ s channels on Flow EVO, Facebook or YouTube.

A total of 11 UWI graduation ceremonies are scheduled to be broadcast live via UWItv. The complete schedule and further details are available at

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