May 12, 2016 News
Guyanese, Professor Eon Nigel Harris, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, was yesterday installed as the ninth Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Turkeyen Campus.
Though he has already begun carrying out his duties as Chancellor since August 26, 2015, he was officially installed last evening in the presence of President David Granger, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, and other members of Parliament, Student-body organisations, Heads of several Caribbean Universities, University of Guyana Staffers and students.
Prime Minster, Nagamootoo welcomed the professor whom he referred to as “a son of the soil”. He stated that his government commends the University for its choice in naming Professor Harris as the new Chancellor of Guyana’s premiere Tertiary Institution.
“His selection has fulfilled great hopes of higher learning since he brings to our national university impeccable credentials as a prominent and preeminent scholar and outstanding academic leader”
Nagamootoo said that he was reiterating that the government is committed to making the University a world-class institution of higher learning and with a leader like Professor Harris; he said that the government looks
forward to the University’s rapid transformation.
Professor Harris has held many leadership positions, including his most recent post as Vice-Chancellor of the University of West Indies (October 1, 2004 to April 30, 2015); President of the Association of Caribbean Universities and Research Institutes (UNICA)from 2012 to 2015, and Chairman of the Association of Commonwealth Universities for a two-year term (2011-2013). He is internationally known for his work as a Rheumatologist.
The Professor stated that during the last few days, he had separate one-on-one meetings with President David Granger about transforming the university.
“Although I know he (President Granger) has written extensively about UG, based on an association with the institution of more than four decades, I was impressed by his considerable grasp of the major issues facing the university and his suggestions for addressing them.
“He actually handed me a one-page document in which he captured the five major challenges facing the University. These coincided with those identified by the Task Force, namely governance, financing, quality assurance, the student experience, enhancement of UG’s research and community engagement and problems with infrastructure and maintenance.
In addition, President Granger made some bold suggestions for change, which I believe can create the environment for some of the sweeping efforts needed.” The Professor stated.
As a result of the discussions, The National Task Force made recommendations in three major areas: Governance; Resource Mobilisation and Finance; and Quality Assurance and Student Services. These recommendations he said, are available online at the University of Guyana website or they can be obtained from the UG Registry.
Getting a new Vice Chancellor to lead these transformational efforts was an imperative, Professor Harris stated. He continued that last March, a process was completed that enabled the University to select one of three “excellent” short listed candidates for the post of Vice Chancellor.
The Professor 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.
He has also acquired many notable awards including the Cacique’s 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.
He is married to Dr C. Yvette Williams-Harris, a general internist and they have three children and five grandchildren.
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