UWI/Roytec renames library for veteran lecturer

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

UWI-Roytec’s Academic Affairs Director Genevieve Julien, give her remarks, at the renaming ceremony of their library in honour of former lecturer Dr. Allan Mc Kenzie, at UWI-Roytec, Henry Street, Port of Spain on Tuesday. – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

The library at UWI/Roytec has been renamed the Dr Allan McKenzie Library, after the English and communications lecturer who worked there for almost three decades.

At the renaming ceremony, held on Tuesday at the Roytec campus on Henry Street, Port of Spain, Mc Kenzie said in a pre-recorded message that the day was one of the most significant in his 89 years.

He came to Roytec after 27 years as Naparima College principal and spent 28 years at Roytec as an adjunct lecturer and head of the Department of English and Communication.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my work at UWI/Roytec – mostly my interaction with students and many members of the faculty and support staff. I enjoyed specially my interaction with students, which was always accompanied by spontaneous wit and humour, expressed in elegant linguistic style, and often memorably so. Many students enjoyed my way of commanding their attention. I was happy to hear that the administration thought highly of my teaching style, in which learning was fruitful and enjoyable.”

The UWI/Roytec library is being integrated with the Alma Jordan Library of the UWI St Augustine campus.

Mc Kenzie said he has been noticing the growth of the institution since its inception.

“The integration further consolidates our relationship with our country’s leading tertiary institution, lending greater academic prestige to your work here.

“Let us think, therefore, how much UWI/Roytec has grown, both visibly and invisibly. As we all herald the excellent status we now enjoy, tribute must be paid to the fundamental, indestructible pillars on which our present educational strength and superstructure now rest.

“Thank you again for the exceptional honour bestowed on me today. This honour I will wear in my heart invisibly but most significantly. As I eventually walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I may more easily enter the kingdom of God through his infinite grace.”

Executive director Wendy Augustus said Mc Kenzie was a reformer who had changed the landscape in education, especially in southern Trinidad. He was also a member of a constitution commission (1987) better known as the Hyatali Commission. In 2010, he was appointed chairman of the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of TT, during which time it was granted institutional accreditation.

UWI-Roytec’s Executive Director Wendy Augustus give her remarks, at the renaming ceremony of their library in honour of former lecturer Dr. Allan Mc Kenzie, at UWI-Roytec, Henry Street, Port of Spain on Tuesday. – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

“In 2012, Dr McKenzie received a national public-service award in education. I consider it an honour to have had him serve as head of the Department of English and Communication at UWI/Roytec.

“His contribution at the academic council, the institution’s highest-level committee, has ensured the regulation of the education, discipline and welfare of our students. Dr Mc Kenzie and other committee members ensured the maintenance of academic standards within the institution and the planning, co-ordination, development, oversight, validation and review of the curriculum and all academic work of the institution, advising the board of directors on the resource implications of such.”

Augustus commented on the vast experience Mc Kenzie brought to the classroom, faculty and council meetings, the many life stories and anecdotes, and his dry humour and wit.

She said libraries assist modern society by maintaining and disseminating the relevant information as and when required. She said they offer relevant and authentic information and record of knowledge created and accumulated by the past generations.

“The resources and services they offer create opportunities for learning, support literacy and education, and help shape the new ideas and perspectives that are central to a creative and innovative society.

“A library is a place where you are safe to ask questions and have many resources to help you find answers. The ability to fearlessly ask questions, and to receive assistance in finding answers, makes the library a safe haven for personal development.”

Academic affairs director Genevieve Julien said Mc Kenzie was one of those lecturers who ensured a learning experience that went beyond the classroom. His lectures were designed to achieve a balance between knowledge, theory and applied learning.

“He encouraged his students to practise their speaking and writing skills at each class because practice leads to an increase in skill level, creates new habits and builds confidence.”

She spoke of his focus on student’s workplace readiness and developing the skills and competencies they needed to succeed after graduation.

“He was proud of his students and their accomplishments in their careers.”

UWI-Roytec’s IT Manager Simone LeeTung, Faculties & Operations Manager Candice Hamilton-Watson, Quality Assurance Manager Dionne Mills, Academic Affairs Director Genevieve Julien, HR Manager Lauren Pierre, Executive Director Wendy Augustus, Student Affairs Director Kaitha Perryman, Student Services Manager Sarika Moonian-McCoon, Registrar Genai Adams and Corporate Training Manager Lindsay Boodoo, stand next to the recently revealed plaque in honour of Dr. Allan McKenzie, at UWI-Roytec Library, Henry Street, Port of Spain on Tuesday. The was renamed after the former lecturer. – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

Librarian Alicia George-Wilson said libraries are educational centres which fuel students with academic resources, working spaces and opportunities for self-development, as well as encourage thinking processes, creativity, and inquisitiveness.

She said the integration with the Alma Jordan Library will raise the visibility, profile, status, and reputation of the Roytec Library.

“Several of our traditional library functions such as acquisitions, cataloguing and circulation will now be automated, and the staff would have access to further training.” Other benefits of the integration would include increased operational efficiencies; improved quality, speed, and effectiveness of services; wider access to information for users; and further participation in resource sharing activities.

George-Wilson said a library represents one of the most cherished gifts that can be passed on to future generations. She said it is only fitting for McKenzie to be recognised for his dedication and contribution to UWI/Roytec by renaming the library in his honour.