Highlights: UTech, Jamaica Virtual Graduation - 2020

The University of Technology, Jamaica Graduating Class of 2020 was celebrated in a virtual ceremony streamed live via the University’s YouTube channel on November 22, 2020. The current restrictions on physical gatherings owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, prohibited the University from hosting the traditional graduation ceremony, however the video production ensured that graduates were able to celebrate their significant milestone with family and friends who offered their congratulatory comments during the live stream.

Mr. Richard Powell, Pro-Chancellor, in his welcome, lauded the graduating class for overcoming obstacles and the upheaval and disruption caused by the pandemic, to attain their certification. He noted that graduates would find the skills and knowledge gained at the University to be life-changing, especially in the current times of uncertainty. As he wished graduates a successful transition into the next chapter of their lives, the Pro-Chancellor noted that “we are counting on our graduates to influence change, to offer innovative solutions to rebuilding and transforming all areas of social and economic life.”

Professor Colin Gyles, Acting President, also lauded graduates for overcoming the many challenges they may have faced while completing their courses of study.  “I commend the Graduating Class of 2020 for staying the course, putting in the hard work and overcoming these challenges not only in the last few months, but over the many years that you have invested in your education,” he said, adding that he had confidence in UTech, Jamaica graduates to be positive agents of change and of good values and attitudes in the Jamaican society and across the world. The Acting President urged graduates to invest in creating entrepreneurial opportunities for themselves and others, and to “contribute to rebuilding and strengthening the economy.”  

Honorary Graduates

The University conferred Honorary Degrees on eminent Jamaicans, Professor the Honourable Mervyn Morris, OM, poet, educator and literary critic and Dr. Wayne Reid, CD, Civil and Structural Engineer.

Mrs. Mercedes Deane (left), University Registrar and Professor Colin Gyles (3rd left) pose with Honorary Graduates, from left, Dr. Wayne Reid, Civil and Structural Engineer, and Professor the Honourable Mervyn Morris, OM poet and educator.

University Orator, Mrs. Pamela Kelly, lauded Morris as “one of the first Jamaican academics to expose the versatility of our national language and quintessential Louise Bennett scholar”, a title he earned with his noted publication ‘On Reading Louise Bennett, Seriously’ and a biography of the cultural icon. Professor Morris in his response thanked the University for bestowing him the significant honour of the Doctor Of Letters, Honoris Causa and in offering congratulations to the Class of 2020, reminded them that “graduation is a significant moment, but only a moment in your lives. You have many years ahead and many other successes.”

Professor Morris likened the challenge of graduates deciding what to do next as a man digging his way under a wall, only to find a higher one before him. In a short poem, he counselled graduates to embrace their opportunities and face their challenges, with renewed vigour and commitment at each failure.

“I wish for each of you continuous achievement in your career, but when things are not going well as may sometimes happen, recognize the failure and move on. Refocus, get your head to settle on the next event and run right this time,” the Professor Emeritus expressed.

The University Orator in her citation on Dr. Wayne Reid, saluted him as an “engineer’s engineer” and praised his significant contributions to the local and regional tourism, manufacturing, energy infrastructure and housing sectors. Expressing his gratitude for the honour of being awarded the Doctor of Technology, Honoris Causa, the highly regarded civil and structural engineer used the occasion to call for greater attention to “engineering planning.”  Pointing to examples of rapid increase in housing density in parts of St. Andrew without the provision of the necessary infrastructure, the construction at high costs of some aspects of infrastructure without consideration for essential accompanying works and improper designs which do not consider the various facets of nature.  Dr Reid said it was critical that “academic institutions such as UTech and professional engineering bodies be prominent in constantly insisting that high standards must be maintained…to ensure the continued development of our country.”

Valedictorian Brithany Brooks offered effusive congratulations to her fellow graduates, expressing that they had overcome myriad challenges, including emotional mental, physical and financial battles that took all their strength to surpass. The Faculty of Law First Class Honours graduate noted, however, that 2020 proved to be the most difficult year, and threatened to steal the joy and excitement of being on “the final lap of our journey.”

“Despite the odds, we made it,” Brithany enthused, while urging fellow graduates to remember the lessons and values learned at the University of Technology, Jamaica, encouraging them to keep meeting challenges as they transitioned into their careers.

High Achievers

Edward Seaga Award for Academic Excellence

The Edward Seaga Award for academic excellence to the student with the highest overall GPA in the last Academic Year, was presented to Melesha Hill, Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science, Faculty of Science and Sport.  The Award which was being presented for the second year, is in memory of former Prime Minister and Chancellor, The Most Honourable Edward Seaga, ON, PC in acknowledgement of his outstanding national service and contributions to UTech, Jamaica.

Melesha Hill, first class honours graduate, Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science, Faculty of Science and Sport

President’s Honour Roll 

The President’s Honour Roll is comprised of students who have achieved the most outstanding academic performance by attaining qualifications of a grade ‘A’ and GPA of 3.75  - 4.00. This year, the following students met the requirements for the President’s Honour Roll:

(From left to right) Melesha Hill, Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science, Faculty of Science and Sport, (FOSS) Josan Munroe, Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science, FOSS, Rayion Sawyers, Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Computing and Shanique Orr, Bachelor of Science in Economics, College of Business and Management. Not pictured is President’s Honour Role awardee, Kevin Gutierrez, Faculty of The Built Environment.


Michelle Beckford (Mrs.)
Corporate Communications Manager
University of Technology, Jamaica
Telephone: 876 970-5299 
Email: mbeckford@utech.edu.jm