NCU plans for Mandeville 'We want a university town,' says new president
Published: Wednesday, August 9, 2017 12:08:53 PM

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — The new president of Northern Caribbean University (NCU) Dr Lincoln Edwards has pledged to continue the efforts of his predecessor, Dr Trevor Gardner, to have Mandeville properly established as a “university town”.

The idea gained momentum a few years ago, following the downturn of the bauxite/alumina sector after decades of being the main economic driver in Manchester and the wider south-central Jamaica.

The recent resumption of refining operations at Alpart in neighbouring St Elizabeth has rekindled hope of a revival in the bauxite/alumina industry, but community and business leaders in Mandeville are insisting that efforts to diversify the local economy should continue.

Gardner, immediate past president of the Seventh-day Adventist-run NCU, was one of the proponents of the idea to have Mandeville as a university town, and, according to Edwards, his predecessor's involvement in that effort will continue.

“Dr Gardner is assisting us with fund-raising ideas and ensuring that Mandeville becomes a university town, an idea that started with his administration,” Edwards told the audience at his recent installation ceremony at NCU.

University towns are usually thought of as being communities where the presence of the major educational institution(s), such as NCU, directly impacts economic and social life; is often the largest employer; and many businesses cater primarily to the higher education sector and a large student population.

Edwards, who has been in the post since January, said that this year NCU will mark its 110th anniversary and as such he is aware that he is building on the work of those who have preceded him.

He outlined plans for improving the university's offering, infrastructure and community service, while staying true to its core values as a Christian institution.

“At NCU we embrace the marriage of education and work, underpinned by appropriate values and attitudes. We offer whole person education. In a world that is becoming increasingly impersonal, uncaring and violent, NCU and its emphasis on character building is needed now more than ever,” Edwards said.

He said that through the efforts of the institution, and with relevant partnerships, he has a goal to ensure that families from different economic spheres will continue to have access to affordable Christian education.

Edwards is trained in pharmacology and dentistry and was employed at the University of Texas Health Science Centre in the United States as an associate professor prior to returning to Jamaica to take over at NCU.

He has also previously taught at the NCU and at secondary educational institutions in Jamaica.

Main speaker, president of the University of Texas Health Science Centre, Dr Giuseppe Colasurdo, hailed Edwards for having a “clear and driving mission to serve others, to lift people up”
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