The Mico at a Turning Point

Chancellor’s Graduation Address 2012

Members of the Diplomatic Corps Mrs Rita Humphries-Lewin, soon to be honorary graduand, Dr. Sharon Carry President of Bow Valley College, friends of the Mico, invited guests, family and friends of the Graduating Class of 2012, members of the Graduating Class of 2012 I wish to assure the Mico University College Community that your Chancellor has never been a rogue or led any organization with which I have been involved to undertake any roguish activities. Any assertions to that effect are absolutely false and are nothing but bad-minded.

This is a very special graduation in the highest of the Mico Institution. This is the first graduating class in which all graduates were admitted to undertake the Four Year Degree Programme. Indeed, Mico University College is the first institution in Jamaica, which was founded as a Teacher Training Institution offering Certificates and Diplomas to make the transition to a full degree-granting institution. The fact is that teachers must always be among the best-educated persons in any society. As education standards rise it is obligatory for the level of education routinely required of teachers to rise also. The Mico, in its 176- year history has always risen with the times.

This graduation is marked by another special event. In the fast moving changes that are taking place in the world in higher education, colleges and universities are forming cross-border partnerships that facilitate cross-border sharing of expertise and even movement of people. In 2010 Mico University College and the Bow Valley College of Calgary, Alberta, Canada commenced a collaborative endeavour where Mico hosts students in Bow Valley College’ Diploma in Early Learning and Child Care programme. Bow Valley College alumni fill on-the-ground roles at hospitals, law firms, dental offices, care homes, and event management companies in Calgary and around Alberta as the workforce in this city and Canadian Province is re-tooled for the 21st century.  This evening the first batch of students to have completed the two-year intense training programme will receive recognition for their accomplishment. Accordingly, we welcome Dr. Sharon Carry President of Bow Valley College and look forward to her greeting.

During the Academic year 2011- 2012 several notable events occurred.

  • The Mico Counseling Centre was expanded to include 10 new classrooms and several offices at a cost of $70 million provided by the Mico Foundation and the Lady Mico Trust. Mr. Joe Barclay, a Trustee of the Lady Mico Trust visited and opened the refurbished centre.
  • Mico University College completed 662 Technology Integrated Trainers, High School Teachers and College Lecturers and the second phase of the e-Learning Project. This brings the total number of persons trained across Jamaica under the Project to 4,662.
  • Mico University College hosted the UNESCO and Gore development sponsored Caribbean Conference in Mathematics and Science. This Conference attracted scholars from the Caribbean, United States, Europe, and Asia. It culminated with the Kingston Declaration on the Teaching of Science and Mathematics across the world. This declaration was subsequently represented to Honourable Minister of Education
  • The Mico University College CARE Centre hosted a National Conference on the Theme: Excellence in Education for All Children: Simulation, Identification, Intervention, and Instruction. This conference attracted over 400 participants from across Jamaica and presenters from the United States, Canada, and Jamaica.
  • In sports, the College retained the Intercol Senior Netball title and over ladies broke records in track and field.

Members of the Graduating Class of 2012, the choice is a defining feature of being humans. However, like most things, there are a few exceptions. Hence, there are a few situations in life where we do not get to choose. For example, we do not get to choose our parents or when we are born. These are wrappings that come with the gift of life.

You the members of the Graduating Class of 2012 have little to do with the local, regional and international economic circumstances into which you graduate. Indeed, these are harsh times in most places. However, you do have a choice with respect to how you deal with these harsh times. The basic choices are that of becoming a victim of or a victor over the times. You must know this by now. Miconians have never chosen the path of a victim but with purpose and perseverance have chosen the path of being victors, notwithstanding the times and circumstances.

This evening you join a pantheon of Miconians stars. You have a light that must shine on some point of darkness in the world. Your challenge is to find that place and shine that light, whatever the circumstances, for therein resides the purpose and fulfillment of your existence. Life is about purpose in whatever place and at whatever time.

Having been to the Mico you have breathed its spirit. It is an indomitable spirit that does not surrender when beset by difficulties, nor is not defeated when mistakes are made, nor is afraid of any foe. The spirit of the Mico is that of service to and in a community, wherever those communities are to be found.

So as you face life with all of its challenges, contradictions and choices my counsel to you is look within and be kind to yourself. Look around and care for and about others.  Look up and find the faith and inspiration to persevere whatever the circumstances.

God bless you.

Professor Emeritus the Honourable Errol Miller CD OJ Ph.D. LLD

Chancellor