Opinion

Black History Month: University of the Virgin Islands (1962-)

  • Centre of higher learning: the University of the Virgin Islands has continued to flourish

February is Black History Month. Throughout this month The Royal Gazette will feature people, events, places and institutions that have contributed to the shaping of African history

The University of the Virgin Islands is a public university located on the islands of St Thomas and St Croix, of the United States Virgin Islands.

It was established in 1962. In 1986, it officially became one of the 117 US Historically Black Colleges and Universities. It remains the only HCBU not on the mainland of the United States.

The University of the Virgin Islands was founded on March 16, 1962, as the College of the Virgin Islands. Its founding legislation authorised the campus as a publicly funded, co-educational, liberal arts institution.

According to that legislation, Act No 862 of the Fourth Legislature of the US Virgin Islands, the collegeís prime objective was to provide for ď... the stimulation and utilisation of the intellectual resources of the people of the Virgin Islands and the development of a centre of higher learning, whereby and where from the benefits of culture and education may be extended throughout the Virgin IslandsĒ.

The institution changed its name in 1986 to the University of the Virgin Islands to reflect the growth and development of its academic programmes. Today there are two campuses situated on the two major islands of St Thomas and St Croix.

The St Thomas campus is three miles from Charlotte Amalie, the capital of the territory.

About 94 per cent of the campusís 2,392 students are from the Virgin Islands.

As a consequence, academic leaders have attempted to craft attractive programmes that would diversify the student body. They have worked to recruit students from the US mainland and international students.

Students from across the United States for example, are allowed to participate in a semester or year-long exchange to UVI through the National Student Exchange, with tuition paid by the studentís home campus.

UVI students are encouraged to enter exchanges with mainland campuses in all 50 states, as well as Mexico, Puerto Rico and Canada.

The university has five academic divisions: Business, Education, Humanities and Social Sciences, Nursing, and Science and Mathematics. They offer baccalaureate degrees to undergraduates. Although UVI does not offer PhDs, it has extensive masterís programmes in education, mathematics, business administration, psychology and public administration.

It also has a masterís programme in marine and environmental science.

ē Sources: Official Website: http://www.uvi.edu/; http://www.uvi.edu/administration/about-uvi/history.aspx; http://www.math.buffalo.edu/~sww/St.Thomas.US.VI/St.Thomas4.html<;/i>