A new Chancellor has been appointed at the University of Guyana (UG) in the person of Professor Nigel Harris.
With his appointment, Harris, a Guyanese by birth, will in effect be the ninth Chancellor of the university. His appointment became effective from August 26, 2015.
He will succeed yet another Guyanese who held the very position, Dr. Compton Bourne, who served as Chancellor from 2009 to 2012.
Since assuming power earlier this year, the coalesced A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance for Change had identified the former Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies as a suitable candidate for the position of Chancellor at UG.
In commenting on his new appointment, Professor Harris said, “I welcome this opportunity to work with the leaders, staff and students of the University of Guyana community, as well as with government and other stakeholders to forge the growth and success of this institution so critical to the economic, social and cultural development of Guyana and the Caribbean.”
Professor Harris held the position of UWI Vice Chancellor over the period October 1, 2004 to April 30, 2015 when he retired. He was named Vice Chancellor Emeritus.
Prior to joining UWI, he was Dean and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia from 1996 to 2004. He was previously a faculty member at the University of Louisville, in Kentucky (1987 -1996) where he rose to the rank of Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Rheumatology.
While he was Vice Chancellor of UWI, he held many other leadership posts. He served as Chairman of the Caribbean Examination Council, (CXC) (2006-2014). He was elected Chairman of the Association of Commonwealth Universities for a two year term (2011-2013) after serving on the administrative board and executive committee for four years (this is a Consortium of 530 universities in the Commonwealth). He is a current member of the Administrative Board of the International Association of Universities (IAU), a consortium of more than 600 universities. He has served as President of the Association of Caribbean Universities and Research Institutes (UNICA) from 2012 to 2015. While Dean at the Morehouse School of Medicine, Professor Harris had a number of leadership roles, including executive membership on the Committee of Deans of Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)
Professor Harris has held many other leadership positions; President of the Association of Caribbean Universities and Research Institutes (UNICA) from 2012 to 2015. He is internationally known for his work as a Rheumatologist.
With Doctors Aziz Gharavi and Graham Hughes in London, he helped to define a disorder which they called the Antiphospholipid Syndrome and devised a diagnostic test (the anticardiolipin test) for it. For this work, he shared the Ciba-Geigy Prize awarded by the International League Against Rheumatism (ILAR) in 1990 with Dr. Graham Hughes, Dr. Aziz Gharavi and others. He has published over 150 papers, Editorials, Reviews and chapters on this subject and these have been cited in several thousand publications. In 1987, he launched the Anti-phospholipid Standardisation Laboratory, which led to worldwide efforts to standardise the anti-cardiolipin test and he developed standards for the test that are often referred to as the “Harris Standards”.
For his contributions to the field of Rheumatology, he was made a Master of the American College of Rheumatology in October 2014.
The new Chancellor graduated with a BS degree in Chemistry from Howard University (1968) and proceeded to Yale University, where he received a Master of Philosophy Degree in Biochemistry (1973). He earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania (1977) and returned to the Caribbean where he completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of the West Indies at Mona. He was subsequently awarded the post-graduate degree, Doctor of Medicine (DM) in 1981.
Professor Harris has also acquired many notable awards, including the Cacique Crown of Honour from Guyana in 2011, the Martin Luther King International Award that was received in Washington DC in 2010 and the 11th Congressional District of the USA declared February 11, 2015, the “Eon Nigel Harris Day” in recognition of his contributions to Medical Research.
Chancellor Harris is married to Dr. C. Yvette Williams-Harris, a general internist and they have three children and five grandchildren.
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