UTech, Jamaica to Confer Honorary Degrees on Nation-Builders, Professor Halden Morris, the Hon. Stephen Francis, OJ and Mrs. Elaine Thompson-Herah, CD at its 2021 Graduation Ceremony

L-R: Professor Halden Morris, The Hon. Stephen Francis, OJ and Mrs. Elaine Thompson-Herah, CD

In recognition of their distinguished national and international contributions, the University of Technology, Jamaica will confer honorary degrees on Professor Halden Morris, esteemed academic and educator, the Hon. Stephen Francis, OJ renowned coach and sports mentor, and Mrs. Elaine Thompson-Herah, CD, sprint icon. Their stellar contribution to nation-building through education and sport will be honoured by the University at its virtual graduation ceremony to be held on December 12, 2021.


Professor Halden Morris has blazed the trail for Technical Education, now rebranded STEM, in Jamaica. His scholastic output, published in well-known journals in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), has helped to influence policy makers and stakeholders involved in TVET programme planning and implementation. He has served as editor of several journals and books, including Issues in Career, Technical Vocational Education and Training: Lessons for the Caribbean, published in 2015.

Beginning in 1978, Professor Morris established the foundation for Technical Education as a Senior and Principal Lecturer of the College of Arts Science and Technology, (CAST), now UTech, Jamaica, where he taught for thirteen years. He led the development of degree programmes that have empowered teachers, education leaders and engineers within Jamaica, regionally and internationally. Subsequently, he transitioned to the University of the West Indies, Mona where he further strengthened his contribution to the field of TVET and Workforce Development. In 1995, he developed and taught the first TVET course at the Master’s level at the UWI, Mona campus, and provided leadership in the development of the Master of Arts in Leadership in TVET and Workforce Development.

In 2012, he led the organization and management of the UWI/UNESCO Caribbean Conference in TVET and Human Capacity Development and played several significant roles at the 3rd UNESCO-UNEVOC International Congress on TVET that year. His national contribution and public service to TVET and Workforce Development policy has been recognized with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) – USA Professional Service award (2007) and the IEEE – USA Regional Professional Leadership award (2008). Professor Morris was also awarded the Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for Service to Education in 2009.

Professor Morris is a distinguished alumnus of the University, having completed the Diploma in Ed. Engineering Technology in 1973 (CAST). He also holds a diploma in Technical Education from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, and from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, USA, the Bachelor of Science (BSc), Hons, in Electrical Technology, (1981), the Master of Science (MSc) in Technical Education (Electrical) (1982), and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Occupational Education (1986). 


The Hon. Stephen Francis, OJ, has nurtured the careers of many renowned national and international athletes, including Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Asafa Powell and Elaine Thompson-Herah. Through his leadership at the Maximising Velocity and Power (MVP) Track and Field Club, which he co-founded and where he served as head coach until 2017, Mr. Francis has provided mentorship, guidance and motivation to his athletes and is well known for instilling the discipline that has propelled many Jamaican sprinters to be among the very best in world athletics.

His eye for spotting and nurturing “home-grown” talent, is widely considered to be one of his greatest assets. He has harnessed the talents of many athletes including Olympic gold medallists Shelly Ann Fraser- Pryce, Asafa Powell, Sherone Simpson and Nesta Carter, Commonwealth Games Champion Kaliese Spencer, World Champion Brigitte Foster- Hylton and many other sprinters who have set the standard for success on the world stage.

His ability to identify and nurture Jamaica talent has revolutionized the sporting industry, and his influence as a game changer was recognized by the Jamaican Government with the national Award of the Order of Jamaica in 2017. Mr. Francis is also the recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal from UTech, Jamaica and has been lauded for his contributions to sports by both national and international sporting bodies. Mr. Francis holds a Bachelor of Science in Management Studies (University of the West Indies) and a Master of Business Administration in Finance (University of Michigan).

Five-time Olympic Champion Mrs. Elaine Thompson-Herah, CD is one of the most dominant sprinters in the world. She is the fastest woman alive and the second fastest in history over the 100 and 200 metres distances. Mrs. Thompson-Herah has overcome professional challenges, including recurring injury, to become one of the greatest female sprinters of all time, holding four of the top ten times ever ran in the 100 metres. She is the first woman to defend her 100m and 200m titles at the Olympic Games.

Beginning her career as a young sprinter at the ISSA Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Championships representing Manchester High School, Thompson-Herah was eventually recruited to the MVP Track and Field Club, where through collaboration with coach Stephen Francis, she made prodigious progress and successfully competed at several national and international tournaments, registering and breaking records.

In 2017, Thompson-Herah competed with the Gold medal-winning 4 x 100 team at the World Relays, setting a competition and national record. At the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Thompson-Herah won the 100 metres gold, achieving the second-fastest time in history of 10.61 seconds, and breaking the long standing 1988 Olympic record of Florence Griffith-Joyner.

The University of Technology, Jamaica in 2019 awarded Mrs. Thompson-Herah the Chancellor’s Medal. In October 2021 she was conferred with the national honour of Order of Distinction (Commander Class) for her outstanding achievements in athletics.   



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