Sunday, May 20, 2012

Malcolm C. Kirwan - 1967

Malcom C. Kirwin

When I reflect on my 40-year affiliation with the University of the Virgin Islands, first as a student, and later as a senior administrator serving four Presidents, I think of the defining characteristic of the University that has allowed it to turn its adversities and challenges into opportunities to forge many of the achievements that have undergirded its growth and development.

Beginning with the first President, Dr. Lawrence Wanlass, he responded to the challenge of attracting students from the Eastern Caribbean with an Eastern Caribbean Scholarship Program that lured students like myself and Dr. Frank Mills to CVI in 1965. Those of us who had faith in the College have been repaid a thousand fold and can truthfully claim that our lives were changed not just for the better, but for the best.

When the College was beginning to outgrow the old World War II Navy facilities that were utilized for the start-up of the institution, Dr. Wanlass engineered a master plan that allowed the institution to make the leap forward by building the Upper Campus as the academic heart of the University with the Library building as the center piece.

When the Enron Corporation challenged the University in 1986 to make a case for a gift of over 300 acres of land that it held on St. Croix and which it was contemplating donating to a mainland institution, then President Dr. Arthur Richards, Dr. Orville Kean and Mr. Malcolm Kirwan rose to this challenge and secured the gift. The proceeds from the sale of the Enron Lands created the seed money for the establishment and funding of the UVI Foundation.

Few will remember that the University went from rationing water to the St. Thomas campus in the 1990’s to the development of a system of wells and a reverse osmosis plant that made it self-sufficient in its water supply. It used the opportunity of replacing the old water distribution system put in place by the Navy in the 1940’s to build out a fiber-optic network that would serve the information technology needs of the institution well into the future.

Malcom Kirwin in Admininstration and Finance Office.
How many can recall that the old Field House was demolished by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and further laid bare by Hurricane Marilyn in 1995? From wreckage of this devastation, there emerged what we now know today as the Sports and Fitness Center that is the source of great admiration and pride to the institution.

Like a Phoenix, UVI has risen out of the ashes of adversity thrust upon it throughout the years to become the institution that is poised to continue to create lasting higher educational opportunities for the people of the Virgin Islands well into the future. Happy 50th Anniversary UVI!

Mr. Malcolm C. Kirwan, now retired, is UVI’s former Vice President of Administration and Finance.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please share your UVI story here.