March 13, 2004 — In honor of the 42nd anniversary of its beginning, the University of the Virgin Islands will celebrate Charter Week March 15-20.
The theme of this year's event is "UVI: A Link in the Chain of Our Community of Learners." UVI will host a full schedule of activities and events, all of them open to the public and taking place variously on both the St. Croix and St. Thomas campuses, or videoconferenced. (Schedule is at end of article.)
The official Charter Day program will be held from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on March 16 in the Chase Auditorium on the St. Thomas campus. In the evening, Ronald V. Dellums will present the inaugural lecture in the Alfred O. Heath Distinguished Speakers Forum.
The university begins as the College of the Virgin Islands
The College of the Virgin Islands was chartered on March 16, 1962, by Act No. 862 of the Fourth Legislature of the U.S. Virgin Islands, as a publicly funded, coeducational, liberal arts institution. According to that law, the university's Web site says, "UVI's cornerstone objective is to provide for 'the stimulation and utilization of the intellectual resources of the people of the Virgin Islands and the development of a center of higher learning '."
With a fast-paced beginning, the planning for that Act was traced to 1960 and, in his 1961 inaugural address, Gov. Ralph M. Paiewonsky pledged to establish a college. Following the legislation, the first campus opened on St. Thomas in July 1963, the first board of trustees took office in August 1963, and in 1964 the St. Croix campus opened.
Associate of arts degrees were offered in the beginning, with bachelor's degree programs added in 1967. In 1976 the first masters degree, in education, was awarded, and in 1978 two more masters programs were added.
The college was given Land-Grant status by the U.S. Congress in 1972. In 1986 the institution was renamed the University of he Virgin Islands and in the same year UVI was designated one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus Ronald Dellums to lecture
Ronald V. Dellums, a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and retired in 1998 from 27 years serving the state of California in the U.S. House of Representatives, will lecture at the university on Tuesday, March 16.
He is the first speaker in the Alfred O. Heath Distinguished Speakers Forum, which has been established, UVI's president Dr. LaVerne E. Ragster said in a release, to offer the public a setting in which to hear persons of national and international renown discuss issues related to the challenges and opportunities faced by the Virgin Islands community.
As a UVI trustee emeritus and chair of the Foundation for the University of the Virgin Islands, outstanding person and accomplished citizen Dr. Alfred O. Heath is an ardent, longtime supporter of the mission of the University.
"It will be an honor to have Mr. Dellums among us to share his insights and recollections as our first speaker," Ragster said.
The speaker's forum will begin at 7 p.m. and will be videoconferenced between Chase Auditorium (Business Education Room 110) on UVI's St. Thomas campus and the Theater of the Evans Center (room EC 401) on the St. Croix campus.
First elected to the House in 1970, Dellums during his Congressional career held many leadership positions. He was active not only military and foreign policy issues include international justice, peace and disarmament, but also in national concerns – mental and community health, pension fund solvency, infant mortality, civil rights and liberties.
Dellums has chronicled his life in the book "Lying Down With The Lions," and the subtitle says it all: "A public life from the streets of Oakland to the halls of power." Born in Oakland in 1935, he and his wife, Leola, have three children: Brandy, Erik and Piper. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps before earning associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees from California institutions. Since his retirement from the House, he has been president of Healthcare International Management Company and is founder and senior partner for Dellums, Brauer and Halterman, LLC.
UVI's schedule of events for Charter Week 2004
Monday, March 15
— 1 to 2 p.m. Fifth Annual Bennie and Martha Benjamin Lecture Series featuring retired nurse Laura Moorehead White, who will lecture on the topic, "The Impressive Legacy of Health Care Bequeathed to the U.S. Virgin Islands: A Charge We Have to Keep," in the Chase Auditorium. Not videoconferenced.
Tuesday, March 16
— 9:30 to 11 a.m. Dr. LaVerne E. Ragster will host the official UVI Charter Day Program, which will originate in Chase Auditorium and be videoconferenced to the Evans Center Theater.
— 11:30 a.m. A dedication of the outdoor St. Thomas campus information kiosk will take place at the kiosk (across from St. Thomas campus entrance).
— 1 to 2 p.m. Education Commissioner Dr. Noreen Michael will make a presentation which will originate in the Evans Center Theater and be videoconferenced to the Chase Auditorium.
— 7 p.m. The Honorable Ronald V. Dellums, a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, will lecture in Chase Auditorium as the first speaker in the Alfred O. Heath Distinguished Speakers Forum. The lecture will be videoconferenced to the Evans Center Theater.
Wednesday, March 17
— 6 to 8 p.m. A colloquium on the topic, "Are students at UVI getting the social skills needed for life?" will originate in the Chase Auditorium and be videoconferenced to the Evans Center Theater.
Thursday, March 18
— 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. A student debate on the resolution "Be it resolved, that the University of the Virgin Islands is the best place to prepare students for successful lives," will be held in Chase Auditorium and be videoconferenced to the Evans Center Theater.
— Noon to 1 p.m. Fifth Annual Bennie and Martha Benjamin Lecture Series featuring retired nurse Laura Moorehead White, who will lecture on the topic, "The Impressive Legacy of Health Care Bequeathed to the U.S. Virgin Islands: A Charge We Have to Keep." Room Q100 in the Nursing Division on the St. Croix campus. Not videoconferenced.
— 6 to 7 p.m. The documentary "Three Mothers, Three Colonies," by Johanna Bermudez Ruiz, will be shown in Chase Auditorium and in the Evans Center Theater.
Friday, March 19
— 6 a.m. Queen Mary 5K Walk/Run on St. Croix. Course starts at Kmart "West" and ends on UVI's St. Croix campus.
For more information on events call St. Thomas campus Charter Day chairwoman Carol Henneman at 693-1342 or St. Croix campus Charter Day Chairwoman Shirley Highfield at 692-4109.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name, and city and state/country or island where you reside.
Publisher's note : Like the St. Thomas Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.