Regional Headquarters, Jamaica, Tuesday, January 5, 2021. The following statement is issued by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI in tribute to the late Gordon “Butch” Stewart.
There is an indomitable spirit that resides in the bosom of Jamaica, and when liberated with focus, discipline, and purpose rises and takes the world along with its imagination and energy. Our “Butch”, like Bob and Bolt, represents this cultural spirit of the ages. It is born to be brash, brave and brilliant, constituting a cascading commitment to nation building and regional renaissance. Our Butch was the ‘stewart’ of this spirit and gave to Jamaica, the Caribbean and the world a performance of sheer class with cool runnings—a ‘sandalization’ of awe and amazement. We experienced in his innovative entrepreneurship, the eruptive excellence of a son produced and nurtured by a soil rich in history and fertile for the future. He integrated and domesticated his Caribbean like no entrepreneurial other, and demanded ownership everywhere the ‘sandals sea’ swept upon our shores. And so the indomitable spirit is called back to source, to rest, to wheel and to come again. From The University of the West Indies, we wish our brother and honorary alumnus well until next we meet. Condolences with gratitude and respect to his family, friends, and homelands.
About The UWI
For over 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and an Open Campus. As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); The UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies; the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ); The UWI-University of Havana Centre for Sustainable Development; The UWI-Coventry Institute for Industry-Academic Partnership with the University of Coventry and the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research with the University of Glasgow.
The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative & Performing Arts, Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport.
As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. The world’s most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, has ranked The UWI among the top 600 universities in the world for 2019, 2020 and 2021, and the 40 best universities in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2018 and 2019, then top 20 in 2020. The UWI has been the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists. For more, visit www.uwi.edu.
(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)