Velvet Benicourt enrolled as a student at the University of the Southern Caribbean, School of Business and Entrepreneurship (SOBE) in September 2018 with an aim to complete her economics degree under four years. She almost did it!
Along with regular semesters, Velvet also enrolled in summer classes in order to accelerate her progress. She was diligent and maintained a minimum, cumulative GPA of 3.70 throughout her studies. Brilliant and determined would characterise her efforts as she pursued her studies, taking pride in her performance. Her lecturers identified her intellectual abilities and encouraged her to take part in various co-curricular activities.
Twice she represented USC as a researcher and member of the SOBE debate team, and on one occasion led the Team to victory! Velvet was a ‘working student’ who had to face the challenge of balancing work-life demands on a daily basis. She admitted experiencing some health challenges in 2020 and was cautioned by several of her lecturers to slow down her pace of studies in order to manage her overall wellness.
She was poised to graduate with honours and wanted to achieve such a milestone by July 2021. Alas, as her health challenges proved complicated she had to pause attending classes in May 2021.
We extend our deepest condolences to her family. She will be missed for her dedication and determination and will always be remembered for her pursuit of excellence.
Remembering Velvet – Tributes from SOBE Students & Faculty
Velvet Benicourt impressed me to be a gentle, hardworking, determined and intelligent soul. While I never had the privilege of having her in any of my classes, I had several brief interactions with her, mainly during challenging times in her life. I was concerned at times that she was pushing herself at school too much but she assured me that she loved school and that assignments comforted her and took her mind off of other things. The only time I had a physical interaction with her was last year when we were desperately in need of a third person for the COTE debate. I asked her if she was capable and willing and she graciously accepted even though we asked her at the very last moment. She stepped right in and was of great support to her team members. We don’t always understand why death takes someone so early with such ambition and a bright future. However, we trust that God knows what is best for her and I am grateful for the brief moment on earth I got to spend with Velvet Benicourt.
– Esther Cedeno
‘International Economics’ would not be the same without Velvet. Always smiling, always willing, always volunteering. What an indomitable spirit, and an ‘A’-Class student in all her Economics Courses! We all would surely miss Velvet, her keen mind displayed in her debating team in 2020. What a treasure! In fact, we can’t really believe that she is gone. It seems surreal. As her Economics Professor and her Debating Coach in 2020, I would particularly miss her brilliance and her infectious enthusiasm that generated confidence among her class members. Velvet was certainly destined for greatness, but God in His wisdom saw it fit to take her to rest, even at such a young age. So, we look forward even more to that ‘great getting up morning’ when Velvet with all the saints of God shall be gathered home. I guess that’s when we’ll understand it … by and by. So, sleep on my dear student, for it won’t be long. We will see you ‘in the morning’. I join with all my colleagues and administrators in offering a special prayer of comfort for Ms. Benicourt (Velvet’s mother), and indeed for all her other family members. Remember that, ‘weeping may endure for a night, but joy will certainly come in the morning’. Psalm 30:5
– Dr. Stephen Pilgrim
I met Velvet when she took an online marketing class with me. Her name really stood out as I never came across such. Her forum responses were always very thought out and she always asked questions to stimulate discussions. After that class she came into my office early in January 2020 and as she indicated who she was, I quickly replied…oh you are Velvet. She replied yes with a smile and we continued our discussions. On two other occasions, I was called in, to deal with some school matters for her and our communication increased thereafter”. I remember it all as if it were just yesterday. My prayer is that at this time, her mother may find the comfort that she needs to weather this storm.
– Stacey Simmons Roberts
What is wrong with this girl? Those were my honest thoughts after my first conversation with Velvet. Coming to class late and looking disinterested wasn’t enough. She had come to my office an hour or so before class to inform me that she was tired and not in the mood to wait around for my class. She said something along the lines of me being boring and she couldn’t handle that today. I tried to stay polite, wished her the best and allowed her to leave. Needless to say, I was shocked and somewhat angry at her audacity. Our interactions remained tense throughout the rest of the semester.
She would often look at me with disgust and I was certain she hated me (I had no idea why). I honestly wished for the end of the semester when I would no longer have to deal with her. As it turned out, Velvet was an economics major and as such we would go on to share many classes together. Sometime later she informed me that she was not enjoying economics and was thinking about changing her major. Yes! I thought to myself but I obviously couldn’t express that to her. Instead, I told her that she should probably give it some more time and not make a rush decision. To my amazement and slight disappointment, she decided to take my advice. In the next academic year, I ended up having Velvet in every one of my classes. I would literally see her every single working day. Velvet was by no means a bad student. In fact, she did very well in all of my classes, usually topping the class. However, for whatever reason, she didn’t seem to enjoy my classes and therefore appeared unmotivated. Who could blame her I thought to myself, I don’t like listening to myself either.
UWI’s Conference on the Economy (COTE) was approaching and as usual they invited USC to participate in their debate competition. As an excellent student I invited Velvet to be a part of USC’s team. She was very reluctant but eventually gave in under the condition that she would only function as the researcher and therefore won’t have to speak at the debate. I agreed. Over the next couple of days, myself and the team spent a lot of time going over talking points and building a coherent argument. To my surprise, at one of those sessions Velvet confessed that she was beginning to really enjoy economics. That year we won the debate competition. There was a significant change in Velvet’s disposition. This change was somewhat apparent even before the debate. She seemed to enjoy the smaller classes as given the low enrolment of economics majors, we typically had around 5 students in each higher level economics class. Given the size of the class, we would often spend time talking as a class about current issues facing the country, region etc. At one of these relaxed sessions, Velvet told me that I was her favourite teacher. I was flabbergasted, befuddled even. I wondered at what stage I moved from being a horrible teacher to a fairly decent one. She quipped that I was always a good explainer just somewhat monotone and boring.
Velvet went on to obtain A’s in every single course she did with me, nine in total. She had an inquisitive and brilliant mind. She was quiet and difficult to read if you didn’t know her well but once she was comfortable, she was talkative, kind-hearted, jovial and even boisterous. It wasn’t uncommon to enter the classroom and see Velvet and her partner in crime Blossom, laughing uncontrollably at something they were watching on their phones.
Velvet would go out of her way to help her classmates. She would visit my office just to talk. We became good friends. She confessed that she really didn’t want to be in school but that she had promised her grandmother to get her degree and intended to keep her promise. That’s who she was, a person of her word. I knew she had health challenges but never realized how serious they were. We were blessed to have her at USC. She was a blessing to the lecturers and students in the economics program. I’m sure she was also a blessing to her family and co-workers. She deserved a long, happy and prosperous life. Though she’s gone, I look forward to her getting what she deserves at the end of time. Death is not the end. May this hope comfort her close friends and family members and motivate us to live honestly, and unselfishly as she did.
– Lyndrison Lincoln
Founded in 1927 the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC), the longest serving higher education institution in the southern Caribbean, celebrates 94 years of providing transformative education. On the weekend of August 27-29, 2021, USC will climax with apposite fanfare the celebration of our 94th anniversary.
Hosted by our 29th president, Dr. Colwick M. Wilson, USC’s administration, faculty, staff, and students invite you to our Founders’ Day 2021 celebration. Our festivities this year, themed “Celebrating our Legacy: Reconnect, Recommit, Reimagine” will intentionally optimize the advantages afforded by virtual communication technology to tightly wrap the globe with rich opportunities for USCian patriotism, comradeship, exchange, sharing and the reunion of USC alumni and friends wherever they are.
Beginning on August 1, 2021, as we countdown to Founders’ Day 2021, our website, social platforms and other media will come alive with stories and memories of our alumni who are #USCSTRONG, tributes to our beloved alma mater, and visions of the present-day USC continuously moving Beyond Excellence!
For a schedule of the weekend’s activities and further initiatives, visit: usc.edu.tt/foundersday
The University of the Southern Caribbean regrets to announce the passing of Ms. Dawne Arthur on Thursday, July 22, 2021.
Ms. Dawne Arthur began her employment with the then Caribbean Union College (CUC) now the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) on October 12, 1992.
During the period October 12, 1982 to February 28, 2003 she worked in the Cafeteria in various positions. Then from March 1, 2003 to January 31, 2020 she held the positions of Assistant Dean of Women and Dean of Women respectively at the University’s Ladies Residence Hall and finally, she held the position of Coordinator for Student Support Services in the Division of Student Development and Services from February 1, 2020 until the time of her passing.
Dawne was well-loved and respected by many of her colleagues in the Division of Student Development and Services, students at both the ladies and men Resident Halls and the wider University community. She was a friend, mentor among other attributes to many locally and internationally. Dawne Arthur will be missed by us all.
She was the sister of:
- Mrs. Dennise Arthur-Turpin, who held the position of Snack Shop Attendant in the Food Services Department/Café at the University of the Southern Caribbean
- Mr. Durey Arthur, an alumnus of the Caribbean Union College Secondary School and previously an employee at the College Press;
- Mrs. Leslie-Maire Arthur, an alumnus of the University of the Southern Caribbean and Part-time Lecturer in the School of Education & Humanities
- Mrs. Ava Simeon-Arthur who held the position of Cook/Assistant Team Leader in the Food Services Department at the University of the Southern Caribbean
Details for the celebration of life for Ms. Dawne Arthur will be given in a subsequent announcement.
Please note that due to the COVID-19 restrictions, there is a limited number of persons which will be allowed to attend the celebration of life. Furthermore, individuals will be able to support by viewing the service via live stream which will be arranged.
Our condolences to the Arthur family, colleagues and friends from the University of the Southern Caribbean. May Comfort, Hope and Peace be yours from the Word of God.
Comfort: And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes and there shall be no more death, nether sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain. – Revelation 21:4
Hope in Eternal Life: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:25-26
Peace: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. – John 14:27
May memories comfort you and bring you peace during this very difficult time.
The University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) was well represented at the 2021 Tertiary Sport Association of Trinidad and Tobago (TSATT) FIFA ESport Tournament.
Representing USC, Mr. Aamir Roberts, a final year History major, defeated COSTAATT and UWI thus earning the right to represent USC, TSATT and Trinidad & Tobago in the upcoming FISU America ESport Tournament.
Official Competition Placements:
- Aamir Roberts – USC
- Colin Peters Jr. – UWI
- Seretse Hughes – COSTAATT
- Vikash Chandie – COSTAATT
- Colin Peters Jr. vs. Vikash Chandie: 5 – 0 victory to Vikash Chandie
- Aamir Roberts vs. Seretse Hughes: 3 – 0 victory to Aamir Roberts
- Aamir Roberts vs. Vikash Chandie: 5 – 0 victory to Aamir Roberts
- Seretse Hughes vs. Colin Peters Jr.: 5 – 3 victory to Seretse Hughes
- Vikash Chandie vs. Seretse Hughes: 3 – 1 victory to Vikash Chandie
- Colin Peters Jr. vs. Aamir Roberts: 6 – 1 victory to Aamir Roberts
USC joins with TSATT in conveying congratulations to Mr. Aamir Roberts on his victory. We wish him all the best as he participates in the upcoming FISU America ESport Tournament.
Go Hummers! We are #USCSTRONG!
The University of the Southern Caribbean welcomes Dr. Colwick M. Wilson as he assumes the role of the institution’s 29th President today, July 1, 2021. A seasoned leader, Dr. Wilson begins his presidency with many years of academic and higher education administrative experience.
Having served as Provost and Senior Vice President at Oakwood University since 2017, Dr. Wilson is excited for the opportunity to now lead his alma mater through this unparalleled time in higher education.
Dr. Wilson’s background as an academic, published researcher, and administrator – as well as his commitment to advancing USC’s philosophy of holistic development – will serve the University well into its 95th anniversary of transformative education delivery.
A visionary, innovative, and collaborative leader with an affable personality, Dr. Wilson looks forward to engaging with and listening to the students, staff, faculty, alumni and all other stakeholders as USC navigates this new beginning.
The University of the Southern Caribbean welcomes Dr. Colwick M. Wilson, his wife Dr. Deleise Wilson and daughters Chidinma and Corliss as we work together to take our beloved USC even further “Beyond Excellence”!
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic the University of the Southern Caribbean remains committed to celebrating the achievements of the Class of 2021!
The Class of 2021 has chosen as its theme: We Have Left the Bay; The Ocean Lies Before Us!
As they prepare to begin their next chapter, we officially invite you to virtually celebrate this milestone at our 88th Graduation Exercises on June 18-20, 2021.
Information on the Class of 2021 and streaming links for all events can be accessed at: https://usc.edu.tt/graduation/
The 2021 National Health Research Conference (NHRC) will be held on November 18-19, 2021 under the theme: Building Resilience through Research in a Pandemic.
Submission Deadline for Abstracts: June 30, 2021.
For more details: https://tinyurl.com/3jnnchrw
World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) Re-approves USC’s Master of Science in Occupational Therapy for the Next Five Years
The University of the Southern Caribbean is pleased to announce the re-approval of its Master of Science in Occupational Therapy by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) for another five years from 2021 – 2026.
WFOT approval ensures that occupational therapy programmes worldwide meet their Minimum Standards of Education, which are constantly revised to reflect our evolving world. Approval indicates that the programme structure and content are sufficient to produce entry-level occupational therapists that are able to respond to the needs of their local population, as well as international communities, with occupation at the centre of their practice.
Re-approval on the global level allows us to continue to complete our mission of graduating “individuals who, having undergone transformative and holistic education in occupational therapy, are prepared to be competent and compassionate entry-level clinicians and future leaders in the profession.” (OT Department)
The University Administration expresses sincere gratitude to the Director and faculty of the Department of Occupational Therapy, our past and current students, TTOTA, CPRM, OTSLP and the community organisations for supporting our programme for the first five years of its functioning. We look forward to working together for the advancement of quality health care for the people of Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean in the future.
The Department of Occupational Therapy was established at the University of the Caribbean in 2015 under the leadership of the then Director, Dr. Leslie Garcia and the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy was first approved by the WFOT in 2016 for five years. USC enrolled the first batch of students in the MSOT programme in September 2016.
USC Dedicates and Commissions New University Auditorium and the School of Nursing & Allied Health Facility
The University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) is unwavering in its commitment to institutional progress in support of its mission to transform ordinary men and women into extraordinary servants of God to humanity. Consonant with this, on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, USC officially dedicated and commissioned the building that houses the new University Auditorium and the School of Nursing & Allied Health.
In a virtual ceremony, 3,317 days after the fire which destroyed the previous auditorium, the USC Administration and Board of Trustees celebrated the completion of this priority project. This two-floor structure, with its architecturally modern glass-clad auditorium entrance marks the culmination of a nine-year journey of faith and determination.
On the top floor, the University Auditorium has a seating capacity of 2,600 and is well equipped to host conferences, concerts and student and community activities. The ground floor houses classrooms, labs, and offices for the School of Nursing & Allied Health.
In celebrating this historic development, the administration, faculty, staff and students extend sincere gratitude to the many generous benefactors who contributed over the years to the completion of this landmark project. As USC approaches its 95th anniversary of providing transformative education to the Caribbean region and beyond, we welcome your steadfast support continuing our legacy of Intellectual Curiosity, Cultural Diversity, Moral Integrity and Spiritual Nurture.
At USC we raise our praise to God as we remain faithful and grateful, for He has kept us triumphant as we continue our journey Beyond Excellence.
Photo (left to right): Dr. Johnson Frederick – Secretary, Caribbean Union Conference; Dr. Kern Tobias – President, Caribbean Union Conference; Phyllis Woolford – Director, Department of Nursing; Dr. Hilary Bowman – President, USC; Dr. Wanda Chesney – Provost, USC
Join us on Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 5:00 pm as we seek to address the psychological needs of the frontline workers which include Law Enforcement and National Security, Healthcare Workers, Public Servants, and other frontline workers and volunteers.
Dr. Edward Clarke will present on the topic: Psychological First aid for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Register for this webinar here: https://uscaribbean.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMpf-GuqTooHdKYLhajkdKtIBw62GyAT50q
Share this session with your colleagues, friends, and family members so they too can benefit from this presentation.
See you there!