Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dennis Parker

Dennis Parker
When I reflect back on my thirty plus years at CVI/UVI I find that I am overwhelmed with memories of the wonderful classroom experiences, the challenging plays and most of all the people with whom I interacted. If I wrote on each of these areas in depth I would of necessity fill volumes.

Classes were always challenging and interesting. Students from the States and various Caribbean Islands brought ideas based upon many different cultures. I often thought I learned as much from them as they did from me. Many, many went on to successful careers including: Melvin Claxton, a Pulitzer Prize winner in journalism; Richard Skerritt, a Rhodes Scholar, who is currently Minister of Tourism in St. Kitts; the Honorable Jessica Gallvin, a judge on the Virgin Islands bench; Sandra Goomansingh, anchorwoman of TV 2 news; and Jessica Henderson, a religious playwright. These are but a few of CVI/UVI’s successful graduates.

There were many, many administrators, fellow faculty and staff who I call friends. However, there was no one more special than the First Lady of CVI/UVI Theater, Dr. Rosary Harper. Rosary and I agreed from the beginning that as long as we worked together all of our productions would be collaborations. There were no Harper plays or Parker plays. Eventually, the Little Theatre plays became known as the Harper-Parker Productions. We were a team and as the years flew by we became lifelong friends to this day.
Dennis Parker outside the "temporary" humanities
building on the St. Thomas campus circa 1977 or 1978.

We had many volunteers who helped to make our productions: Doug Salisbury, former Reichhold Centre technical director, handled the stage lighting; Josee' Deckert, became our artist in residence, creating wonderful poster/t-shirt designs and often helped paint sets; Mary Alexander, executive assistant to the Humanities Division, designed tickets and sold them. Mervin Taylor of the bookstore also oversaw ticket sales. Monique Purguy was a great help with costuming working in tandem with Rosary.

Community actors Hans Eisler, Wanda Dipnarine, Pat Hector, Sheldon Turnbull and Seymour Davis were among the many who took on roles with our student actors. Faculty thespians included Dr. Vladimir Barac, Dr. Patricia Harkins-Pierre, Dr. Simon Jones-Hendrickson and Dr. Douglas Iannuci also graced the stage. The university theater family became complete with the participation of staff members Robert Ruskin and Choupette Braure.

Talented local playwrights David Edgecombe, Rudy Wallace and Lorraine Joseph showed their confidence in us by allowing us to mount their production premieres. From the professional world CVI theater premiered the Derek Walcott-Galt McDermott musical, “Marie La Veau” on the stage of the Little Theater. Many local musicians contributed their talents as well and I served as producer. I even had an opportunity to be an actor!

Yes, oh the memories! It has always been about the people who have made CVI/UVI a special home. I feel honored to be a member of the UVI family.

Dr. Dennis Parker is now retired. He and his wife, Diana, are celebrating the forty-fifth anniversary of their marriage this week.


  1. Professor Dennis Parker is an excellent educator. I have learned so much from the Interpersonal Communications Speech Class as a student at UVI. Little did I realize then, those tools were exactly what I would need to become News Director/News Anchor at CBSTV2, News 2. They were very valuable then and even more now. Thanks Professor Parker!! Sandra Goomansingh, News Director/Anchor NEWS2, CBSTV2

  2. I remember you from East Aurora High School. I was in the contest play " The Lark "
    It seems like you have had a good run so far!

    Ron Anderson

  3. Mr. D.E. Parker listened to my concern and made a new rule concerning Call Backs and we loved it!

    Catherine M. J. Mary Evans nee Laity
    Lifetime Member, Star
    Troupe 2097
    The International Thespian Society

    P.S. Ron: classmate & family friend.

  4. Does anyone know where Dean Rosary Harper, now Professor Emeritus of the CVI, and Josee Deckert, the wonderful French artist in residence are? Did they make it through the hurricane? Anyone know how I can reach them. We were great friends in the 1970's and 1980's.
    Thank you,
    Adrienne Parks


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