March 23, 2017

UWI Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles Delivered 2017 Boyer Family Lecture

“Reparatory Justice and Economic Development: Critical Support for the Social Growth Paradigm in the Caribbean”

SUNY Empire State College Press Release

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – March 22, 2017) – University of the West Indies Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles delivered the 2017 Boyer Family Lecture during SUNY Empire State College’s annual All College conference, on March 22, at the Saratoga Springs City Center.

Sir Hilary’s lecture, “Reparatory Justice and Economic Development: Critical Support for the Social Growth Paradigm in the Caribbean,” was streamed live.

“Delivering the annual Boyer lecture is a distinct honor,” said Sir Hilary. “A true innovator, Ernest Boyer’s accomplishments are surpassed only by his creative thinking about the purpose and methods of higher education.”

“Together with commencement, the Boyer Family Lecture is a highlight for SUNY Empire’s academic year,” said Merodie A. Hancock, president of the college. “Given SUNY Empire’s critical role in advancing the goals of the SUNY UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development, Sir Hilary was the perfect choice to deliver this year’s Boyer lecture. We are honored to have such an accomplished scholar and distinguished higher education leader join us during our All College Conference.”

The leadership of Sir Hilary and SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall was an essential component of the establishment of the SUNY UWI (University of the West Indies) Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development.

Through the center, based at 325 Hudson Street, in Manhattan, one of SUNY Empire’s three New York City locations, joint teams of UWI and SUNY experts will take a multi-disciplinary approach and draw on external expertise to advance the following goals:

  • creation of a master’s program in leadership and sustainable development
  • solutions-oriented research
  • student advocacy and mobilization of the Caribbean diaspora
  • establishment of an expert network
  • facilitation of a think tank.

SUNY announced the new center on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2016.

The center also will build on existing SUNY and UWI areas of mutual interest and cooperation, including teacher training and open, distance and online education, as well as focus on serving groups that have faced barriers to equal opportunities.

In February 2015, Hancock joined McCall when SUNY renewed its ties to UWI.

About Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles

Sir Hilary became UWI’s vice-chancellor on May 1, 2015. Previously he served the university as pro-vice chancellor and principal of its Cave Hill Campus in Barbados from 2002-15.

Sir Hilary has had a distinguished career within the university becoming its youngest scholar to be promoted to a personal chair at the age of 36.

As a professor of Economic and Social History, he won the first Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in the field of research.

Sir Hilary is a distinguished university administrator, internationally reputed historian and an expert thinker and strategist in higher education.

Sir Hilary received his higher education in the United Kingdom, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Economic and Social History in 1976 and, in 1980, completed his Ph.D. from Hull University.

A complete bio of Sir Hilary is available here.

About the Boyer Family Lecture Series

The annual Boyer Lecture was established in 2004 by Kathryn Boyer ’78 in to honor her late husband, Ernest L. Boyer Sr., chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977, who was instrumental in the founding of Empire State College in 1971, as well as their son, Stephen Paul Boyer ’86, a mentor at the college’s Center for Distance Learning, and grandson Gabriel Boyer ’04.

Boyer Sr. went on to serve as U.S. commissioner of education in President Jimmy Carter’s administration and president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

About the SUNY UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development

Situated at SUNY Empire's Manhattan location, the SUNY UWI (University of the West Indies) Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development, engages in research relevant to democratic participation, leadership and governance, with a focus on solutions to specific problems constraining the achievement of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. The center also focuses on serving groups that have faced barriers to equal opportunities.

About The University of the West Indies

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a fully-fledged, regional University with over 50,000 students.

Today, The UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with three physical campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and an Open Campus.

The UWI serves 17 English-speaking countries and territories in the Caribbean: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, The British Virgin Islands, The Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos.

The UWI’s faculty and students come from more than 40 countries and the university has collaborative links with 160 universities globally. UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences.

The UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such overarching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation.

More information about UWI may be found at

About SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, educates nearly 19,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, 34 locations across the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students’ average age is 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and coursework on site, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

Students have the opportunity to enroll five times during the year.

The college’s 78,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

The college was first established in 1971 by the SUNY Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977. Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

More information about the college is available at