April 05, 2018
University of The Bahamas (UB) is reinvigorating its relationship with the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) as alumni of the former College of The Bahamas are eager to form the first international alumni chapter of UB.
President Dr. Rodney D. Smith led a group of administrators to Providenciales recently to build relationships and reconnect with alumni including Premier Hon. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson and her husband Mr. Lorne Robinson. At a special reception held at Kalooki's Restaurant, President Smith explained the ways in which UB is growing to meet current and future needs and the opportunities that are available for alumni to advance further development.
Dr. Smith revealed that UB will make annual scholarships available for TCI students as a result of a growing endowed scholarship fund for first generation university students. This is in addition to extending access to the Summer Bridging Programme, designed to give aspiring UB students without the minimum qualifications, another chance for direct admission to university. Such opportunities are critical to broadening access to tertiary education to underserved populations.
“We know that the way to help communities to change and develop and grow is to begin to educate the individuals in that family. We know that if one person in that entire community receives an education, everybody in that community gets to benefit. That is our goal,” said President Smith. “We are setting aside funds out of that endowed scholarship fund annually for two TCI students.”
He also asserted the role of higher education in developing the human capital that subsequently advances their own communities and territories.
"One of the things we want to do at University of The Bahamas is to encourage our students to return to their respective communities and make their contributions," said President Smith.
“We need to figure out a way to keep our people coming back home and to help our own countries to develop as well and that is why we are doing what we are doing,” he added.
Premier Cartwright-Robinson studied Law and Criminal Justice at the former COB and befriended the first TCI students who were awarded scholarships to study at the institution. One of them was Lorne Robinson, who would become her husband years later. Today, many of her college mates are successful professionals serving in various capacities in TCI. They include the current Director of Education Mr. Edgar Howell and Deputy Permanent Secretary Mrs. Tamera Howell-Robinson who were among the alum who attended the reception.
“We are excited when we start to reminisce about our college experience. Graduating from COB has been a life altering experience especially because we were in a place that was just like home,” said Premier Cartwright-Robinson.
“We congratulate you and we welcome this reengagement and this rebirth of a relationship we enjoyed many years ago,” she added.
In close proximity to the Bahamian archipelago, TCI has historically had an intimate relationship with The Bahamas. Many nationals have emigrated from TCI to The Bahamas and vice versa, deepening cultural and social similarities and connections.