The University of the West Indies (The UWI) through its Medical Alumni Association (UWIMAA) has launched an Endowment of US$1.5 million.
Though in its early days, the fund, under the patronage of Sir George Alleyne, Chancellor Emeritus of The UWI and globally celebrated contributor to the fields of international medical and public health is already attracting interest and donations from alumni and organisations within the Caribbean and internationally. Contributing to student scholarships and funding for medical faculties, donors are pleased to support the UWIMAA’s bid to catalyze and assure the future development of the Medical fraternity, ultimately in service of the Caribbean, states a release from the university dated November 22, 2021.
Medicine is the founding faculty of The UWI and its medical graduates form the backbone of the health services of the Caribbean – the importance of which is ever more evident during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The UWIMAA now in its 33rd year is undergoing a process of revitalization. Mobilizing medical alumni to contribute to the fund is one way of marking the 75th anniversary of the Caribbean’s premier higher education institution and honouring the original 33 medical students who entered in 1948 – four of whom are still with us, the release adds.
The Medical Alumni Association, birthed at the Mona campus, now incorporates thousands of medical graduates from across the institution. It has provided material support to the faculties and recognized medical students in various ways. The proceeds from this new endowment will build on the UWIMAA’s track record, assisting medical faculties, providing merit and needs-based student scholarships and stimulating excellence through prizes and awards.
One of the early benefactors is UWI alumnus Dr. Edward Doyle Slifer (class of 1968) who has donated US$50,000. Appreciative of the University’s role in his training and professional development he said: “We all owe a great deal of gratitude to The UWI for a first-class education and we need to provide support so that others less fortunate can have the same opportunities that we have had. Giving forward is an important part of our responsibilities as alumni of this great institution.” Dr. Slifer has contributed generously to the University over the years and in 2020 established the Doyle and Linda Slifer Endowment Fund of US$250,000 to provide scholarships for disadvantaged medical students.
Responding to Dr. Slifer’s latest donation, Dr. Peter Wong, President UWIMAA said: “The UWIMAA thanks Dr. Edward Slifer for his generous gift to the Endowment. His contribution is an important step in supporting the Faculty of Medical Sciences and needy students who want to study medicine. We know that our alumni in the Caribbean and across the world will help us to reach our goal.”
University Dean of Medicine, Dr. Peter Adams in turn commended the UWIMAA for taking on the challenge of fund-raising.
“An investment of US$1.5 million in our students and research agendas has the potential to meaningfully impact the medical fraternity, public health and the quality of life for Caribbean citizens. As a Faculty we have always been extremely proud of the life-saving contributions of our graduates. To every alumnus or stakeholder who will decide to contribute financially to this endowment, it is one more way we are saving lives.”
The UWIMAA Endowment is being launched on the heels of The UWI’s annual Global Giving campaign which in 2021 raised an outstanding US$650,000 toward scholarships and bursaries for students affected by COVID-19. Elizabeth Buchanan-Hind, Executive Director, Institutional Advancement Division and UWI Global Giving Chair shared her thoughts on the new endowment.
“We are heartened by the establishment of the UWIMAA Endowment in collaboration with UWI Global Giving as it will provide tremendous opportunities for The UWI, staff, faculty and most of all students in need. The UWI Global Giving has grown exponentially, garnering support from UWI alumni, friends, corporations and foundations. We encourage support of the UWIMAA Endowment and the strengthening of the University’s medical programme which is already comparable to the best anywhere in the world.”
The overall aim is to raise US$1.5 toward the charitable fund.
From a University College of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global university with near 50,000 students and five campuses.