Dr. Joycelynne Loncke was formally welcomed as the University of Guyana’s newest Professor Emeritus during the institution’s 44th Convocation Ceremony on Saturday evening last.
Dr. Loncke has made a career from her love of the French language and classical music that spans decades of dedicated scholarship and the pursuit of excellence. Winner of the Guyana Scholarship in 1960, she travelled to the University College of the West Indies (UCWI) in Mona, Jamaica.
While reading for her degree in Jamaica, her diligence and excellent performance netted her a French Government Scholarship which gave her the opportunity to study in that country. Not one to pass up a golden opportunity, the young woman travelled to France where she became a student of the Sorbonne at the University of Paris.
The Sorbonne by then had been the hallmark of excellence for decades for those scholars pursuing studies in the arts, and it was nothing less than an honour for Dr. Loncke to have been invited to study there. While at the Sorbonne, she immersed herself in all things French as she pursued instruction in the French Language, its Civilisation and Literature.
Dr. Loncke so distinguished herself in her studies at these two institutions that she received a UCWI Post-Graduate Scholarship which took her to Somerville College, Oxford. She also received a French Government Fellowship in 1971 followed by a Ford Foundation Grant for Research in France in 1974.
As if it were not enough to be a Scholar in French, Dr. Loncke was also progressing in her career as a musician. Becoming a Licentiate of the Royal School of Music, London, in 1960, was not enough, since she went on to become a Fellow of the Trinity College of Music, London, in 1971. She eventually became one of Guyana’s leading concert pianists and performing artists in classical music.
Outside of her musical and academic careers, Dr. Loncke is also a decorated citizen, having garnered several awards in recognition of her services by both the French and Guyanese Governments. She was made a Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1974, awarded the Golden Arrow of Achievement in 1980 and the Cacique’s Crown of Honour in 1987.
According to the University Administration, “The title of Emeritus Professor is conferred on retired members of the academic community who have attained the rank of Professor; achieved the distinction of personal chairs and honourably distinguished themselves in service to the University, in the pursuit of scholarship and in the affairs of the Institution.”
Professor Loncke joined the Department of Modern Languages in the Faculty of Arts and true to form distinguished herself in academics, research, culture and administration. Over the years she has served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Coordinator of Music. She also introduced the study of Music to the Division of Creative Arts while there and worked diligently to make it a part of the programme.
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