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The cricket and calypso icons were conferred the honours as UWI graduations begin
By Laura Dowrich-Phillips- Former West Indian cricket captain Richie Richardson and calypsonian Becket have been awarded honorary doctorates from the University of the West Indies.
The two Caribbean icons received the honours at the graduation ceremony at the Five Islands campus in Antigua and Barbuda.
The Five Islands graduation is the first in a series of graduations that will take place across UWI’s five campuses this month.
Sir Richard Benjamin Richardson, who was born in Five Islands, Antigua, was conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for his contribution to Sport.
Alston “Becket” Cyrus of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was conferred an honorary Doctor of Letters for his work as a Soca Artiste/Composer.
In his acceptance address, Sir Richardson said growing up in one of the smallest villages in Antigua, he would have never dreamed then of all his accomplishments. He said he would have also never dreamed of the UWI establishing a campus in his village.
“This is an accomplishment that every Antiguan and Barbudan should smile about and grasp at every affordable opportunity in our country to advance educationally,” he said.
Stating that the graduands are the beginning of a cultural change in their families, communities and countries, Sir Richardson urged them to find their niche and excel at it.
Pointing out a few common themes between being a UWI graduate and excelling in cricket and calypso, Sir Richardson said one is patriotism.
”Never forget where you came from and the opportunity that came about from your people and your country,’ he said.
I loved being an ambassador for Antigua and bar and I was proud to represent all the people of this region whenever I don the uniform of the West Indies,” he said.
Stating that he wants to see the game develop and grow, he revealed that along with Antigua and Barbuda’s three other cricketing knights, Sir Vivian Richards, Sir Andy Roberts and Sir Curtly Ambrose, have committed to developing the Four Knights Cricket Academy to support the identification and development of emerging talent and return the West Indies to former glory.
”I remain optimistic and hopeful that the west indies will return to being the best cricketing team in the world someday, hopefully soon,” he said.
He urged the graduands to start their own charitable organisation or join one.
He said it is also important to know your history and identity and to use it to cultivate the present and future. He also stressed that networking is important to forge deals, negotiating contracts and build organisations.
Valedictorian, Athalia Crump recalled how the pandemic uprooted their campus experience, as her cohort had to do much of their studies online.
Recalling her own journey, she said along the way she had to find jobs to pay for her studies.
“What we have accomplished does not show far we will choose to go but it does indicate an ability to finish what we start,” she said.
The UWI graduation ceremonies will continue on the dates below.
Saturday, October 15
Cave Hill Campus
Saturday, October 22
St Augustine Campus
Thursday, October 27
Friday, October 28
Saturday, October 29
Thursday, November 3
Friday, November 4
Saturday, November 5 (Caribbean Loop)