Authored by: Shelley Lyons, Assistant Professor & Publications Officer, USC Faculty Senate
The quest to measure a nation’s President’s initial days in office began rather memorably with US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933. He began his presidency during a very challenging time in American history: the Great Depression. He coined the “first 100 days in office”, which he began by launching many critical initiatives to bring relief to America’s devastating economic crisis. This Americanism that has become a ubiquitous metric of the early impact of leaders, has its original association with what for the US – and possibly the world – became presidential greatness.
In July of this year, the Board of Trustees of the University of the Southern Caribbean appointed Dr. Colwick Mervyn Wilson as President of the university. His appointment, like Franklin D. Roosevelt’s, comes at a very challenging and memorable time in history: this time, it is during the COVID-19 pandemic.
So, just as many presidents after Roosevelt have been assessed for their likelihood of a successful administration, the first 100 days of Dr. Wilson’s presidency are presented here as a means of sharing his initial strategies, that will ultimately become part of his legacy.
Dr. Colwick Wilson was born in Guyana and is a proud alumnus of CUC/USC. He studied Theology as a student at CUC/USC and following a stint of pastoral practice in the Guyana Conference, went on to the US where he completed a Master of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Michigan, a Master of Arts degree in Leadership and Counseling from Eastern Michigan University, and then a PhD in Sociology from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Wilson is married to Dr. Deleise Cole-Wilson and together they have two adult daughters Chidinma Wilson and Corliss Wilson.
His appointment to USC was received with delight and anticipation. Though, it was the first time in the history of the ninety-four-year-old institution, a presidential appointee was interviewed, introduced and installed remotely.
In his position as President Elect, while still in the US, the Guyana American Missionary Endeavour hosted a virtual event, “Let’s Talk with President Wilson” that revealed enthusiastic national, regional and international support for his election. This was on April 24th 2021.
Thereafter, Dr. Wilson engaged in many programmes before physically arriving on the main campus. These included the commissioning and dedication ceremony for the new University Auditorium and home of the School of Nursing and Allied Health on May 26, as well as the eighty-eighth graduation exercises from June 18-20, where he participated as President Elect and guest of honour.
Dr. Wilson officially assumed duty as President on July 1st, 2021.
From his first day in office, Dr. Wilson has kept quite a hectic schedule of internal and external engagements with stakeholders that has included appearances at alumni activities, fundraising ventures, the annual Colloquium and quite a number of introductory meetings and courtesy calls with leaders in denominational, state and civic organizations.
He has resurrected the celebration of Founders’ Day at USC and this year the commemoration was themed “Celebrating our Legacy: Reconnect, Recommit, Reimagine”. This programme was truly a strategic outreach that allowed USC to reconnect with many alumni family, and friends, who have become ambassadors that exemplify USCian men and women, across the globe. Founders’ Day 2021 also saw the launch of Dr. Wilson’s “Get on the Bus Fundraising Campaign”. Drawing on the metaphor of a Caribbean bus-ride outing, the campaign appeals to all supporters of our university to purchase actual tickets and take an excursion with us to a stronger university that is enabled to meaningfully improve value proposition to the church and its young people and to the Caribbean region.
Dr. Wilson has also set his eyes on the historic milestone of USC’s 100th anniversary celebration, due to take place in 2027. That anniversary celebration, he envisions, will be unlike any in USC’s history.
Since Dr. Wilson’s arrived on the main USC campus in Maracas, St. Joseph, Trinidad and Tobago, he has hosted the President’s Convocation. This was held in September and showcased never before seen snippets of USC’s deans’ acting skills and creative prowess. The President’s Convocation was memorably encapsulated “Living Courageously: Faithfully and Fearlessly”. His training in hermeneutics and experience in motivation shone brightly.
Dr. Wilson has met with the Honourable Esmond Forde, Member of Parliament for the constituency of Tunapuna, and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives who paid him a courtesy visit on September 30th, 2021. This was an introductory gesture to ensure the partnership and cordial relationship between the university and its neighbouring constituency.
On his 100th day in office, Dr. Wilson met with the USC Faculty Senate, the elected representatives of the faculty, and recounted important milestones.
He has held town meetings with internal stakeholders including deans, chairs, faculty and staff. He says he needed to meet with and listen to his constituents. He has begun an audit of some staff to ascertain the demography of campus personnel under his care. He has met individually with Board of Trustees members, as a means of forging closer ties. He has engaged denominational stakeholders, the local pastors of the South Caribbean Conference and presidents of conferences and missions within the Caribbean Union. This outreach to those in the Caribbean Union is to initiate spiritual support and foster engagements for present and future initiatives. He has also set his radar on the Inter-American Division and the research opportunities and partnerships available through such linkages. He has begun talks with corporate stakeholders, such as Nestle Caribbean and academic institutions such as Howard University with a view to future collaborations. He has also strategically engaged state officials in various governments of CARICOM building-out his field of co-operation and relational resources in the region. The President has commenced alumni outreach and has also sourced sponsors who have already vowed financial support to USC. Additionally, Dr. Wilson has even made overtures to overseas sponsors who may have no specific links to USC, or who may never have donated to the university before.
Dr. Wilson often refers to USC as “Miracle Valley” [his term], where miracles still do take place.
President Wilson sat for an interview in mid-October to discuss his vision and faculty matters and provided some intriguing insights.
His real reason for leaving his distinguished career in the US, to return to his alma mater, is rooted in a history of prioritizing Christian education and wanting to give back to the church and young people. He does admit he was encouraged by some close to him, to apply for the position, with hopes of closer collaboration and lucrative partnerships with sister institutions.
When asked about seeming intentional in engaging all stakeholders, and what he would like to achieve for faculty by the end of his presidency, Dr. Wilson had a bucket list including:
i. Faculty development
ii. Faculty contributing to national and regional discourses, in the media, on topical issues
iii. Faculty earning more attractive salaries with incremental annual wage increases
iv. Faculty participation in governance and operations of the university that is meaningful
v. Health and well-being of faculty and all employees
Note, Dr. Wilson also has great plans for students, alumni, the various extension sites and international stakeholders too.
He shared his views of the COVID-19 era and believes the greatest downside is the loss of life of so many people around the world, as well as the long-term health effects. Sadly, the President has lost many loved ones to the virus.
He sees the greatest blessing of the pandemic as the technological adaptations from which all have been able to benefit.
He admitted that what he most wished he had brought from the US to the campus are resources! Computers, lab equipment etc.
As a leader, he now sees his greatest weakness as his previous experience. That has affected his expectations and assumptions. But, as President of his alma mater, his greatest asset is his resilience. He is not fearful of the challenges and always strives for personal and professional growth.
So far, Dr. Wilson most appreciates USC’s many Christian employees who are committed to SDA education. He describes them as caring, decent and passionate. He loves the prevalence of prayer on the campus and treasures the growth of the institution since his time as a student.
The slower pace of Caribbean life is tremendously appealing to him, as well as the culturally inbred “liming” trait of Trinbagonians.
As the USC President’s first 100 days in office has been shared, we do trust and pray that the inspiring and responsive leadership style evident in President Wilson will continue to advance the Lord’s commission. His early initiatives portend a positive trajectory. Do continue to pray for the growth and success of this President and may God continue to lead him as he leads. Also, do continue to support USC by your donations, attendance or sponsorship.
By Simone Augustus, Corporate Communications Officer
Excellence Express awaits!
From Caribbean Training College to University of the Southern Caribbean, our voice in the valley has strongly echoed as we have grown in size, status and service to society. Throughout the years, though change has been a constant, we have remained steadfast in the quest for institutional progress and innovation.
As USC remains dedicated to the holistic development of the heads, hearts and hands of our USCian men and women we invite you Get on the Bus as we raise TTD$3.4M for our priority projects:
- Construction of the University Church
- Student Scholarships
- Furnishing of the Timothy Greaves Residence Hall
- Furnishing of the newly constructed School of Nursing and Allied Health
Visit usc.edu.tt/getonthebus to book your seat on Excellence Express today – tickets start at USD$600.00!
We call on your passionate generosity to secure the continuation of our celebrated legacy of providing transformative education on pillars of Intellectual Curiosity, Cultural Diversity, Moral Integrity and Spiritual Nurture.
With your support today, our future alumni will undoubtedly return the favor to the USCians of tomorrow!
Join us on Sunday, November, 28, 2021 at 5:00pm for the official launch of the Get on the Bus Fundraising Campaign! Join the stream on YouTube and Facebook as we depart on our journey Beyond the horizon of Excellence!
By Simone Augustus, Corporate Communications Officer
On Wednesday, October 20, 2021 the USC Administration and USC South Campus Teams paid a courtesy visit to His Worship The Mayor Alderman Junia Regrello at the San Fernando City Hall.
Present were President of the University of the Southern Caribbean, Dr. Colwick Wilson; Dr. Wanda Chesney, Provost, and Ms. Ebony Burton, Director of the USC South Campus.
This visit saw the formal introduction of Dr. Colwick Wilson as President of the University of the Southern Caribbean to Mayor Regrello.
The University of the Southern Caribbean remains dedicated to its long standing record of service to the city of San Fernando and looks forward to continued collaboration.
On September 25th 2021, the Church History Suite at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary (SATS) at Andrews University (AU) was named after the very influential, retired professor and pastor, Dr. Walter Baxter Theophilus Douglas. Positioned in a conspicuous place of honour on the upper floor of the building, is an artist’s portrait of the man who in 1972, became the first person of colour to join the teaching faculty of the SATS at AU. Dr. Douglas served with distinction as a scholar and member of teaching faculty at the ATS and in several other roles at AU for thirty-five years.
In his acceptance speech at the naming ceremony, Douglas, an alumnus of Caribbean Union College, Andrews University, McGill University and McMaster University chose to single-out Caribbean Union College (CUC) – now the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) – as the veritable point of original inspiration for the distinguished life of service he has led.
Walter Douglas – at the insistence of his mother – came to the campus of Caribbean Training College (the immediate institutional forerunner to CUC) in the early 1950s from his native Grenada. He was an impressionable, eager, and intellectually curious sixteen-year-old. His studies on the campus prepared him for the gospel ministry in the first instance, and also laid a solid foundation for his illustrious career as a scholar, consultant, servant-leader and the many other interesting things he has done with his life.
Douglas graduated from CUC as part of the very impressive class of 1958 and entered a brief stint of pastoral ministry in Port of Spain, Trinidad. His ambitions quickly took him to AU where he completed a baccalaureate degree in theology. He soon returned to CUC in 1963 as a member of its teaching faculty. Later in that year, he married Yvonne Sebro, an alumna of CUC and the daughter of Pastor Frederick A. Sebro – one of the first male students at East Caribbean Training School (the earliest formation of USC). Yvonne has been his supporter and partner in ministry, parenthood and life for almost fifty-eight years – and yes, they had a CUC campus wedding.
In 1964, Walter Douglas was one of quite a few youthful members of CUC’s teaching faculty to leave for North America to further their studies. He returned to Andrews University and there, as an exceptional graduate student, he left such an impression that soon after he moved to Canada for further graduate study at McGill University, he was invited by then AU president, Dr. Richard Hammill, to join the teaching faculty at the seminary. Douglas negotiated a postponed acceptance in order to complete his studies at McGill. In 1972, he took up what by then was a three-year old invitation and joined the teaching faculty at the seminary. He specialized in church history and the history or religion. He later added the emerging field of multiculturalism and diversity studies to his academic and professional skillset and was the founder and first director of The Institute for Diversity and Multiculturalism at AU.
In the privileged position of professor at the seminary – the epicenter of Adventist thought, research, scholarship and pastoral training – Dr. Douglas immensely impacted the world church directly and through his former students. For seminarians, being taught by Dr. Douglas became a rite of passage. The full stretch of his influence there will only be known when the records of heaven are unsealed. As for the more measurable, his exceptional work as a teacher and scholar at AU, earned him the John Nevins Andrews Medallion in 1993 – the superlative award AU reserves for its best scholars.
The demands of academic and professional responsibilities did not ameliorate the burden of his call to pastoral ministry and the pulpit. He was one the founders of the All Nations Seventh-day Adventist Church in Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA and was its senior pastor from 1980 to 2004. Even after his retirement from AU, Dr. Douglas continued active pastoral ministry in Florida.
Beyond the cloisters of the denominational work, Dr. Douglas’ expertise and body of work in the field of multiculturalism and diversity studies brought him many special assignments in various parts of the world. One of the most memorable of these assignments for him, was his call to participate in an interim transitional government in his birthplace Grenada, after the fall of the People’s Revolutionary Government and the US led military intervention there in 1983.
In a reflective conversation with Dr. Colwick Wilson, the current president of USC, Dr. Douglas expressed thanks to God for the privilege and opportunity of spending thirty-five years in service to Andrews University and the world. He considered it an opportunity to represent CUC/USC at that level and that it was an honour for him to do so. He added that no man is an island and as such, his success is tied directly to the University of the Southern Caribbean. It was at CUC/USC that he experienced a call to ministry; it was there that he found Jesus; and it was there that he found his wife. Dr. Douglas even somehow managed to ‘grand-father’ the impact of CUC/USC into his explanation of the success of his three very accomplished adult children. He argues with a persuasive conviction that the blessings that he and his wife received from CUC/USC translated into opportunities for their children to be educated at some of the finest universities in North America and to experience outstanding successes in their own careers. Their children are Vonda, a pathologist; Derek, an attorney, university administrator and former aide to former US President Barack Obama; and La Vonne, a clinical psychologist.
The president, administration, faculty, staff, student, alumni, family and friends of the University of the Southern Caribbean here record heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Walter B.T. Douglas on his most recent honour and the inspiration and pride it carries for the people of the Caribbean.
By Simone Augustus, Corporate Communications Officer
On Thursday, September 30, 2021 Dr. Colwick Wilson, President of the University of the Southern Caribbean received a courtesy visit from Hon. Esmond Forde, Member of Parliament for the constituency of Tunapuna. The meeting which took place on USC’s Main Campus in Maracas, St. Joseph.
This introductory meeting served to acknowledge and bolster the long standing bilateral relationship between the University of the Southern Caribbean and the constituency of Tunapuna, and gave assurance for continued collaboration.
USC remains a dedicated contributor to national and regional development.
The 2021/2022 academic year has officially begun!
USC’s 29th President, Dr. Colwick M. Wilson cordially invites you to attend our President’s Convocation on Monday, September 20, 2021 at 3:00pm as we welcome the University community and inspire our new and returning USCians to continue Beyond Excellence in this new academic year.
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 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/
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