Sunday, September 9, 2012

Jerome L. McElroy

Jerome L. McElroy
Kudos to the faculty, staff and students of CVI/UVI for their successful efforts to maintain the academic quality of this maturing institution. I spent my early career there during the 1970s and owe a great debt of gratitude. The experience was formative for me both professionally and personally. In the first case, I cut my pedagogical teeth teaching economics at the then CVI. Because the textbooks were North American, to engage the students I had to learn how to apply theory to island reality. Using local examples has become a touchstone of my classes ever since. Another memorable aspect of those early years was student interest in the Cuban Marxist model that led to many heated but friendly discussions in the classroom and sometimes over dinner.

My work at the Caribbean Research Institute (CRI) also made an indelible imprint on my scholarly life. With competent colleagues like Norwell Harrigan and Beverly Bandler, I began to model the contours of the island economy in general and tourist development in particular. Over the years my name has become associated with the Small Island Tourist Economy or so-called SITE model, demonstrating the enduring influence of CRI on my scholarly career.

In the second case, the CVI experience living in St. Thomas was personally rewarding in three important ways. First and foremost, it was there that we adopted our daughter, Jacqueline, born on St. Croix. Second, our campus apartment overlooking Brewer’s Bay provided my wife Birdie with lovely land and seascapes to paint. As a result of the impact of that beautiful environment on her work, her first ever-art show at L’Escargot sold out in one evening. Third, the same tropical scenery prompted me to begin writing poetry. Thus far I have published three chapbooks with another in press. Clearly CVI and St. Thomas share a very deep place in the mind and heart of my family.

Jerome McElroy - 1976 CVI Yearbook
What I remember most of course is the students – eager, appreciative, courteous. One of the humorous highpoints was when I took a group of honor students on a school-funded weekend trip to St. Maarten. The first evening half gambled and won. The second all gambled and lost, proving again there is no such thing as a free lunch.

At CVI I was also privileged to work with excellent colleagues in the Social Science Department. They included Marilyn Krigger, Eric Blake, Paul Leary, John Cross, Frank Mills and Klaus de Albuquerque. I owe these pioneers a great deal for their encouragement. Klaus, in fact, became my long-standing research collaborator until his death in 1999.

I have nothing but fond memories of CVI/UVI. Congratulations again, and Godspeed forward for the next fifty.

Dr. McElroy was at CVI from 1972 to 1980 and taught economics and conducted research at the Caribbean Research Institute (now UVI’s Eastern Caribbean Center).

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