Home News Local news UVI Looks to Future During 46th Charter Day Celebration

UVI Looks to Future During 46th Charter Day Celebration


March 17, 2008 — After more than four decades the University of the Virgin Islands is still growing and striving to serve the community and a new generation of students, faculty and staff said Monday in commemoration of UVI's 46th Charter Day.
The annual celebrations commemorate the establishment of the university on March 16, 1962. Birthday events this year started earlier in the month, and have included the unveiling of three portraits of past UVI presidents painted by local artist Shansi Miller. A symposium was also held Sunday to commemorate the 100th birthday of the university's founder, the late Gov. Ralph Paiewonsky.
Despite UVI's growth there are still challenges the university must face and goals the faculty and stuff must work toward, speakers said during opening ceremonies on the St. Thomas and St. Croix campuses. That includes diversifying the school's student body and making sure the university does its best to juggle limited resources and create new revenue streams, according to UVI President LaVerne Ragster.
"We need to continue to evolve into the kind of university this territory needs for the future," she said. "These are all things we have to deal with, and they will continue to help us focus our plans and efforts. We must always remember that we are linked to the destiny of this territory, and it is linked to us. And we must be proud to be part of an institution that can help make a difference in so many lives."
Speaking before Ragster, UVI board trustee Jennifer Nugent-Hill also underscored the need for the school to remain "strategically transforming and relevant," meaning UVI must tailor itself and its curriculum to the demands of the local community and the much larger — and more competitive — global environment.
"We must also be committed to high standards of academic excellence, and consistently deliver the kind of strong leadership qualities that demonstrate that we are an institution of higher learning," she said. Nugent-Hill, also a UVI alumni, said she is "personally tied" to the development of the university and, as a trustee, is invested in its success.
"The only thing that makes a dream impossible is the fear of failure," she said. "But we're not going to fail here at UVI — we're not."
Other speakers shared her sentiments, and described Monday's ceremonies as a "beautiful day in the history" of UVI, and a prelude of the "many achievements" to come. A faculty member shared a poem describing his feelings about the university and its place in the territory, and two UVI students displayed their musical talents with moving renditions of both the territorial and national anthems. Ragster rounded out the day by honoring several of the university's most prominent faculty members, who she said are pushing the university on the path toward shared governance.
"We are fortunate to have such involved and dedicated faculty and staff," Ragster said. "Yes, life is good. Life is good because UVI is here in this territory."
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