I pen this message of farewell to Professor Clement Sankat, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal at UWI, St. Augustine. He has decided to pass the baton to Professor Brian Copeland early to facilitate a smooth start to the upcoming academic year.
Principal Sankat and I have been colleagues for a very long time. I was there to welcome him when he became Pro Vice-Chancellor, Graduate Studies and later, Principal of the St. Augustine Campus. In that regard, I am happy to celebrate him and to recognise his service to the campus and our regional University.
As a former student, research assistant, lecturer, head of department, dean, pro vice-chancellor and campus principal, he has served this University for over 38 years with drive, energy and passion. He was fortunate to lead the campus through both its 50th anniversary in 2010 and 55th in 2015.
During his tenure, the campus saw the growth in teaching, learning and curriculum development, the broadening of graduate studies, a re-invigoration of research and innovation for impact and the expansion of global partnerships for development and internationalisation – most notably linkages with the diplomatic corps and deepening of relations with various institutions around the globe, including Brazil, China and India.
He was also mindful of the financial sustainability of the campus under his stewardship. With the support of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and the local private sector, the campus engaged stakeholders in new ways to develop income-earning opportunities and upgrade the physical plant and facilities. St. Augustine is now our largest campus. At a time when universities globally are experiencing a drop in enrolment, the campus boasts more than 19,000 students – one third of whom are postgraduate students – and some 4,000 graduates annually.
Principal Sankat sought to enhance the campus’ commitment to the University’s ideals to support the inclusive social, economic, political, cultural and environmental development of the Caribbean region and beyond. In so doing, the St. Augustine Campus has a jump-start on our next strategic plan and objectives which will focus on recreating the Activist University through the Triple A vision of alignment, access and agility.
On behalf of the entire University, I thank him for his contribution, his perseverance, and his commitment to the goals and ideals of The UWI. We wish him the best in all his future endeavours.
Professor Sir Hilary Beckles
The University of the West Indies