Sunday, December 9, 2012

Roberta Q. Knowles

Roberta Knowles
If you’re lucky enough to work at the same place for a long time, you’re bound to remember several defining moments, those special times when an impression becomes a realization. My first defining moment at the then CVI was completely unexpected, for even way back then – in 1972 when I started teaching full-time on St. Thomas – I had already worked at CVI on both campuses off and on since 1967. I had even had lunch at the Beachcomber before. So what made this lunch on a sunny beach in September so special? The food was good, the weather was glorious, and the view was divine. But they all paled in comparison to my brilliant colleagues. There they were cosmopolitan and charming, enthusiastic and sophisticated! Among them, Rosary Harper, Carmen Padgett and Vladimir Barac made me feel so welcomed I instantly thought, “I’m going to love teaching here!”

Fast forward to another September day, twenty-three years later – September 15, 1995. The scene is far from peaceful and idyllic. At the time the university was in the process of completing the first draft of a comprehensive self-study report in order to maintain its accreditation – a process that had started back in 1994. Hurricane Marilyn brought that process to a halt and extended it by a full year. As the editor of the report, I remember sadly shaking my head and thinking, “This is impossible. We’ll never finish in time!” But once again I discovered colleagues who were extraordinarily dedicated and resourceful. The steadfast support and cooperation of team members such as Frank Mills, Mary Savage and Juanita Woods helped us overcome every obstacle and complete the task successfully and on schedule.

Roberta Knowles as an assistant director - CVI 1972
Once again fast forward – this time to September 29, 2012. A retiree since 2001, I had the free time to spend the day in the Little Theatre on the now Albert A. Sheen Campus, attending a “Summit on Virgin Islands and Caribbean Cultural Issues.” As I listened to presentations by my former colleagues and students, among them Simon Jones-Hendrickson, David Edgecombe and Gerard Emanuel, accolades once again came to mind – inspiring, insightful, impressive – prompting me to think, “Wow! Here’s to UVI—50 years old and still going strong!”

Dr. Roberta Knowles is Professor Emerita of English. She currently resides on St. Croix.

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