Author: Hayden McKenna
At USC’s 90th Commencement Ceremony, Dr. Vernon E. Andrews, Ms. Norma Greaves and Mrs Shirley Baptiste were honoured for the stellar contributions they continue to make to the progress of the University of the Southern Caribbean. The Doctor of Arts honoris causa was conferred on Dr. Andrews, while the Spirit of USC Award, 2023 was bestowed on Ms. Greaves and Mrs Baptiste. All three are alumni of the University of the Southern Caribbean, and Dr Andrews and Ms Greaves have served the University in various academic and leadership positions for most of their adult lives. Today, in their retirement, they remain cherished repositories of institutional memory for the university and the wider Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Caribbean Union.
Commenting on receiving the honorary doctorate, Dr. Andrews said that given the choice, he would again devote his career to denominational service in the field of education. For him the true reward of a career so spent, was meeting and having the privilege to work with young people and to impact their lives in the classroom, in music and otherwise. As he reflected on his very long run as maestro on the campus and the many young people with whom he had the privilege to work, names like Len Archer, Colville St. Hilaire, the Forde and the Thorpe sisters were among those that he chose to mention. The double-doctor said that “if the Lord gives me time and space, I will still like to be of service wherever I am”. He confessed though, that he sometimes has to remind himself that he is no longer twenty-three years old. Dr. Andrews said that he was particularly delighted to have his sons and grandsons on the stage with him, when the honour was conferred.
Ms. Norma Greaves who resides in Barbados, was present on the main campus to receive the Spirit of USC Award, 2023. Commenting on receiving the award, Ms. Greaves said, “All through the years my aim was to work in God’s vineyard. I skipped other job opportunities, and vowed to remain at USC where I enjoyed working in various capacities as CTC/CUC progressed even with name changes… I thank God for His blessings, and for the strength given as He led me along through the years of work. I humbly accept this Spirit of USC Award 2023, in appreciation and recognition of what was deemed as my dedication to excellence at my alma mater. To God be the glory I give Him all the praise.”
Mrs. Shirley Baptiste, received the Spirit of USC Award, 2023 in absentia. Mrs. Baptiste who had a fruitful three-decade career with the United Nations, has been a consistent contributor to the success of her alma mater. She has served as President of the CUC Alumni Association and is the sponsor of the Harold Baptiste Lecture Series, held annually in the name of her late husband Pastor Harold W. Baptiste. Nested in the School of Theology and Religion, the Harold Baptiste Lecture Series, aims at exposing theology and religion majors and the wider university population, to interesting intersections between contemporary issues and Christian theology.
These three alumni, and former colleagues and leaders, exemplify the ethos of USC – beyond excellence, and encourage not just the Class of 2023, but all of us, to continue the work of Miracle Valley!