News & Features

Jamaica Observer: 'When I left Bible school I bought a tractor trailer'
Published: Wednesday, September 6, 2017 10:53:59 AM

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — The more than 500 students who graduated from Northern Caribbean University (NCU) this month, with qualifications ranging from associate to doctoral degrees, were advised not to feel limited by their studies.

Vaughn Reid, the second of two keynote speakers at the graduation ceremonies held last Sunday inside the university's gymnatorium in Mandeville, said that having a skill or trade has merit.

“You don't have to conform to conventions and societal pressure. When I left Bible school I decided to (fight) convention and buy a tractor trailer. Those were some of the most wonderful days of my life,” he said.

“Everybody (boasts) about the white- collar workers in families, the ones with more degrees than a thermometer. We need those people and they deserve the credit, but would it be so bad to try and be the best carpenter, like Jesus?” Reid questioned.

Pointing out that plumbers, tailors, seamstresses, farmers, mechanics and truckers are all quite useful in day to day life, Reid told the graduates that what they must aim for is to be the best at whatever job they choose.

“Be the best at whatever you are called to do, and do it in a big way. Don't be afraid to step out of convention and take a risk,” he said.

In 1975 Reid graduated from the then West Indies College (now NCU) with a bachelor's degree in theology.

“Although he did enrol at Andrews University to read for the master of divinity degree and pursue studies in aviation, he later decided to discontinue these studies to satisfy his desire for entrepreneurship, establishing his own business in 1978,” reads his profile.

Reid recently retired from the non-profit Fellowship Health Resources in the United States after 17 years as chief information officer. He plans to expand his technology business.

He told the graduates that while they seek to find their own path they should not compromise their values.

“If you compromise your values for a dream, anything, be it a job, a spouse, a house, it can mess you up. That dream will one day become your nightmare,” he said.

President of NCU Dr Lincoln Edwards told the audience that the Christ-centred and values-based education of the Seventh-day Adventist-owned university is an important factor in transforming the lives of young people and making them into productive citizens.

A highlight of the graduation exercise was the university's first visually impaired PhD student, Curtis Sweeney. He completed studies in counselling psychology, with emphasis on marriage and family therapy.

Sunday Observer staff reporter

Sunday, August 20, 2017

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