Caribbean Professionals Mentor Future Conservation Leaders at St. George’s University

With an eye toward the future, St. George’s University welcomed the second cohort of future Caribbean conservationists at the Conservation Leadership in the Caribbean (CLiC) workshop, an intensive 18-month program aimed at assisting 18 young professionals from 13 Caribbean countries in launching, developing, and implementing successful conservation campaigns.

“CLiC is a fellowship program offered free of cost to Caribbean nationals and professionals in the wider Caribbean,” said Dr. Leo Douglas, Assistant Professor, New York University and Immediate Past President of BirdsCaribbean. “This much-needed program was designed to help young people who are trying to get established in environmental careers and have a broad passion for the environment but really are lacking in the resources, institutions, and the training to actually advance their careers.”

Originally funded by a $125,000 grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in 2014, CLiC’s collaborating partners include St. George’s University (the base of the training program) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), along with the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF), another important collaborator, administering the program in its second year.

“We’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to partner with SGU and use its facilities here because the University offers the ideal setting to meet all of our needs,” added Dr. Douglas, CLiC Coordinator. “When CLiC was formed, we wanted to keep it entirely Caribbean. We needed a location that was accessible, and not prohibitively expensive, that we could have our fellows come and be a part of a community of scholars, a place where there would be accommodations but also have access to classrooms and state-of-the-art technology.”

This second cohort completed a three-day leadership and project management planning workshop, followed by a 10-day (in-person and virtual) short course on Advanced Conservation Planning based on the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation. Participants were broken up into five teams, and each team launched a research conservation initiative with the help of an assigned mentor. Over the next two years, through workshops, online and in-person courses, and hands-on project implementation exercises, fellows would be provided with the knowledge and training of best practices in conservation, potential funding mechanisms for their projects and proposal writing and networking skills both with their advisors and each other.

Having worked for four years as a conservation officer at a local nature center in Trinidad, Kimberly Chu Foon, a PhD candidate at the University of Prince Edward Island was eager to join CLiC’s training and become a better conservationist. Along with her teammates from Team Macaw, Ms. Chu Foon’s conservation campaign focuses on Trinidad’s reintroduced population of blue and gold macaws, which had been extirpated in the wild since the 1960s.

“Our project is centered on looking at the main reasons why pet owners acquire these birds, where the birds are coming from illegally, and trying to find ways to develop a behavior change program to make sure that people are no longer hunting or poaching these birds from the wild,” said Ms. Chu Foon. “As a PhD student, a lot of the methods I’ve been using to conduct my research are some of the same ones I’ve been using on this project. So, this has really been helping me to build my skills in such areas as qualitative data analysis and data collection and in giving me the experience that I need to further my research career.”

Continuing to expand upon a two-year pilot leadership-training program, Caribbean Emerging Wildlife Conservation (CEWCL), which mimicked the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL) training program, a successful venture in the US for more than a decade, CLiC’s current cohort of fellows will also be the first to achieve certification.

“We’re very excited about this. Thanks to SGU, these fellows will be receiving graduate-level, degree-type certification which is a huge deal when trying to find jobs and move on to the next level,” Dr. Douglas said. “We’re also offering an increase in funding to our next batch of cohorts because we want them to work with a broader, deeper, more extensive network of partners than ever before especially in terms of working on projects that have on-the-ground benefits such as recycling, endangered species, and climate change projects, so that they can access people with specific types of training.

“CLiC’s future is bright, as it continues to provide its fellows with greater resources that they can use to advance themselves and their careers, all while benefitting their local environments and habitats in the Caribbean.”

Class of 2018 Encouraged to be Fearless in Pursuit of Greatness

Face your fears and press on with courage. That was the advice of Dr. Timothy Antoine, Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and keynote speaker at St. George’s University’s 2018 Grenada commencement.

Serving the Government of Grenada for 22 years, 14 of which as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Governor Antoine’s advice to the graduating class on how to become valuable contributors to their community by serving humanity rang true even more so because of the life he has led. Having received The Order of Grenada Gold Award for Excellence in recognition of his outstanding service to Grenada, Governor Antoine’s life serves as a shining example of just that.

“Graduands, I charge you today to become people of value. So how does one become a person of value?” asked Governor Antoine. “First, focus on service by making it one of your top life values.  Second, develop a flexible skillset to stay relevant. You must keep learning. Remember, you cannot lead if you do not read. Third, face your fears. Consider this question: what would you do if you were not afraid? May God guide and bless you on your journey to make a difference and help change our region and our world.”

In recognition of his outstanding contribution to Grenada and to St. George’s University through his service on the Monitoring Committee, the University also conferred Governor Antoine with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

Representing 28 countries from across the globe, the almost 400 graduates from the Class of 2018 in attendance at the Grenada ceremony, included nearly 200 students from the School of Arts and Sciences, more than 120 from the School of Graduate Studies, and 74 new physicians graduating from the School of Medicine. Ceremonies for the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine will take place in June at New York City’s Lincoln Center.

Echoing the keynote speaker’s message about fearlessness in her valedictory address, Haley Noel, BSc ’18, reminded her fellow students that although today signaled the start of a new journey in their lives, they were well prepared to go out into the world and apply the skills and toolsets they acquired at SGU.

“Fellow graduands, we can do anything. We are not afraid of the challenges that are to come. We are part of a generation that is changing the course of history,” stated Ms. Noel. “I challenge you to push yourselves harder and always aim higher because in doing so you will be successful. So, Class of 2018, let us commit ourselves to the belief that we can accomplish anything and work every day to do so.”

St. George’s University also recognized Dr. Theodore Hollis with its highest award for service to the University, The Distinguished Service Medal. Dr. Hollis first came to St. George’s University as a Visiting Professor in Physiology in 1979, while serving with great distinction for a quarter of a century as Professor of Physiology at Penn State University. He then joined SGU full time in 1995 as the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and Graduate Studies. He served as the Dean of Graduate Studies until 2003 and as the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences until 2017, making numerous important contributions to the University during his tenure.

“I came to Grenada 25 years ago, and this country embraced me and I it. Soon, I realized that the beauty of Grenada is not just the beauty of the country but the beauty of the people,” said Dr. Hollis. “My SGU family has made me feel at home here—it has been a pleasure working with you, for you, and sometimes helping you. I really believe that my change in career to come here might have actually prolonged my life. So, I accept this medal with great humility and thank all of you very much.”

Clean Sweep for Hillsborough Secondary School at SGU Knowledge Bowl

Holding the record for both the most victories and the only institution to three-peat in the SGU Knowledge Bowl competition, the pressure to win was on for Presentation Brothers College (PBC). However, finals newcomer Hillsborough Secondary School (HSS) dominated this season, defeating the five-time champion and earning their first-ever win.

The final match held at SGU’s Charter Hall on April 14, seemed like a battle between David and Goliath as the winningest team in the secondary school competition, PBC, was the crowd favorite to win. Nevertheless, it was the underdog HSS, who had not lost a single match throughout the entire season that came out on top. With only a handful of supporters in the audience but hundreds more cheering them on from Grenada’s sister island, Carriacou, HSS continued its dominance, remaining undefeated in Season 13.

“Over the last 13 years, this competition has been embraced by the schools, corporate Grenada, and the general public. There have been continuous improvements to ensure that this important feature of the academic calendar gets the respect that it deserves,” stated Colin Dowe, Associate Dean of Enrollment Planning, SGU. “SGU Knowledge Bowl has cemented itself within the Grenadian community, and along with the involvement of our corporate partners, who play a key role in its success, SGU Knowledge Bowl is testimony to our shared commitment to academic success and youth development in general.”

For its school, the HSS team was presented with the coveted Knowledge Bowl Challenge trophy and awarded $15,000 from St. George’s University. Additionally, each of the five team members—Lené Mitchell, Roshaun Lendore, Anthony Matherson, Teja Patrice, and Cristel Belmar—received a laptop and six months complimentary broadband service from FLOW, along with $500 in a Super Starter Investment Plan from Grenada Co-operative Bank, a certificate of distinction and a supply of Ribena from Geo F. Huggins. Their coaches were awarded a laptop and six months complimentary broadband service from FLOW, $500 in a Super Starter Investment Plan from Grenada Co-operative Bank and each received a two-night stay for two at Spice Isle Beach Resort or Maca Bana Resort.

SGU Knowledge Bowl remains a source of great anticipation, garnering huge support each year as students, faculty, and fans come out to cheer for their favorite teams. The high-profile quiz competition continues to encourage and promote friendly competition between Grenada’s secondary schools, while also serving as an excellent preparatory tool for their CSEC exams. In addition to primary sponsorships from St. George’s University and FLOW, local businesses Grenada Co-operative Bank, George F. Huggins, and Glenelg Spring Water sponsor the SGU Knowledge Bowl, which is regarded as the “Intercol of Academia.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

Wildlife Conservationist Envisions a Future for Tigers in Northeast Asia

At present, the Siberian tiger is at the tipping point for its recovery or extinction, this according to Dr. Dale Miquelle, Director for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Russia Program. With an estimated 3,500 tigers remaining in the world today, the goal of conservationists is to double that number by 2020, while the cost of inaction would mean their extinction by 2040.

In his recent lecture at St. George’s University, titled, “Dreaming of Donuts: A vision of tiger conservation in northeast Asia”, Dr. Miquelle pointed to poaching, loss of prey, and habitat loss/degradation as the primary reasons for the tiger’s decline. However, Dr. Miquelle believes that the Siberian tiger can be saved, detailing a plan for tiger conservation in northeast Asia.

“First, we should let ‘good’ science drive policy decisions, then secure source sites or protected areas for tigers, as well as secure habitat/populations outside of these protected areas because they represent the majority of tiger habitat,” advised Dr. Miquelle. “We also need to resolve tiger-human conflicts—these conflicts between people and tigers remove animals from the wild and turn public opinion against tigers.”

“Lastly, we need to expand tiger habitat/tiger distribution, and train the next generation of conservationists,” added Dr. Miquelle. “In the Russian Far East and northeast China, there are very few young biologists/conservationists. In Russia especially, the next generation is missing. Hence, we seek to identify, support, and train the next generation of specialists, and provide them stimuli to stay involved.”

Dr. Dale Miquelle was invited to the True Blue campus by the Department of Biology, Ecology and Conservation in the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS). Dr. Andrea Easter-Pilcher, Interim Dean of SAS, met Dr. Miquelle during a two-month sabbatical trip to Siberia and the Russian Far East as Visiting Scientists in 2015. Housed for five weeks in the WCS house in the small village of Terney on the Sea of Japan, she spent time in the field with Dr. Miquelle and other Siberian tiger, leopard, and Musk deer biologists at this biosphere reserve, which is the last stronghold for the Siberian tigers.

“We are preparing our Marine, Wildlife and Conservation Biology students for work on the global stage, as our graduates hail from Grenada, other Caribbean countries, the US, Canada, and Europe,” stated Dr. Easter-Pilcher. “Likewise, Dr. Miquelle knows how to succeed on that level, by leveraging funds, building local professional capacity, and implementing data-driven programs, all in difficult international political environments.

“Hosting someone of Dr. Miquelle’s caliber, in the wildlife and conservation biology sciences, is a testament to SGU’s intellectual breadth and global reach and is a tremendous benefit for our students and the SGU community,” she continued. “We were indeed fortunate to have Dr. Miquelle with us here at SGU.”

Trained as a biologist at Yale, University of Minnesota, and University of Idaho, Dr. Miquelle focused on moose in Minnesota and Alaska for his degrees. However, working for a year on the Tiger Ecology Project in Chitwan National Park, Nepal, with a Smithsonian-led tiger research team changed his focus and cemented his interest in both international conservation efforts and large carnivore research. In 1992, he led the field team of a joint Russian-American Siberian Tiger Project, during which time he became a passionate conservationist, using science as a platform for policy change, working in both China and Russia to ensure a future for big cats.

Currently, Dr. Miquelle also serves as Coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Tiger Program, coordinating research and conservation actions to protect large carnivores and the ecosystems upon which they depend, focusing mainly in northeast Asia.

– Ray-Donna Peters

SGU Marine and Wildlife Students Help Recovery Efforts in Dominica

Dominica—the first island hit by the full category-five force of Hurricane Maria last September—continues to call upon its Caribbean neighbors during its ongoing recovery efforts. Answering that call was a seven-member team from the Marine and Wildlife Department at St. George’s University. The group, comprised of two faculty lecturers and five students, spent 10 days in Dominica, lending its expertise in its post-hurricane ecology impact assessment of the country’s forest and endemic parrots, Amazona Imperialis and Amazona Arausiaca.

“As one might expect after a hurricane, the government’s resources are really stretched thin in regard to man power, so Dominica appreciates all the assistance it can get,” said Stephen Nimrod, lecturer at SGU. “Following a natural disaster, we now have the opportunity to document and measure the time it takes for forest regeneration and wildlife recovery. This is the kind of technical assistance that SGU was there to provide.”

Aiding the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Parks, the SGU team conducted rapid assessment surveys while collecting quantitative data detailing the extent of the damage done by the hurricane. Additionally, the team documented the hurricane’s impact on Dominica’s flagship species, the Imperial Parrot. Most of the bird’s natural habitat had been destroyed, forcing it to leave the forest in search of food in the nearby villages.

“Our focus while there was on the regeneration of the forest and the conservation of the island’s native parrot,” added Mr. Nimrod. “The data collected will be analyzed and compiled into a comprehensive report together with real-time recommendations as a guide forward. This includes continuous monitoring of the rainforest and the change in behavior of the island’s endangered parrots in particular. We hope that by recording these lessons learned in Dominica, we can now create a network that will be beneficial to other islands going through the recovery process.”

Unsurprisingly, the mission was met with a few challenges. Much of Dominica’s population was left stranded without power, running water, or communications. The island was stripped of vegetation, and according to team leader Leon Radix, approximately 60 percent of its rainforests have vanished.

“Dominica markets itself as the Nature Island of the Caribbean so therefore its forest is one of its major resources,” stated Mr. Radix, lecturer at SGU. “However, following the passage of Hurricane Maria, as you can imagine, conditions on the ground are not good. Many vehicles were damaged and the road network is broken, making it time consuming for us to arrive at the various sites, which resulted in limited time for us to work in the field. Generally speaking, we can see that the island has been ravaged.”

“When we got there, it was clear that the people were still traumatized,” commented fourth-year marine and wildlife biology student Quincy Augustine. Yet, armed with their binoculars, field vests, and notebooks, the team quickly went to work conducting wildlife surveys and generating a post-hurricane impact assessment of the area in Dominica. “Overall, the trip was a really good experience,” added classmate Amonie Holas, also a fourth-year marine and wildlife biology student. “We got to apply the various skills and methods that we learned from our courses here at SGU into a professional setting, and working with different people from the same field was really inspiring.”

Funded by the Office of the Dean within St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences, GAEA Conservation and EC $4,000 in funds raised by Education Conservation Outreach (ECO), the Dominica outreach provided an opportunity for SGU students to gain invaluable real-life experience with wildlife rescue work and a glimpse into their future careers in conservation.

“Being a part of the outreach in Dominica will serve as both hands-on training in the field and will also elevate the status of our students, especially when sending out their resumes,” said Dr. Andrea Easter-Pilcher, Interim Dean, School of Arts and Sciences, SGU. “Highlighting that they were involved with the recovery efforts on the ground will be extremely beneficial for them. SGU had a big role to play in that. The fact that the University provides funding for student development speaks volumes about its commitment to the international education of its students.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

Future Nurses Welcomed at Spring 2018 Induction Ceremony


Joining the largest group of health care professionals, the Class of 2021 was recently inducted into the School of Arts and Sciences Nursing Program at St. George’s University’s third Nursing Induction Ceremony.

The future nurses were presented with lamps, a symbol of the care and devotion administered by nurses, and recited the International Council of Nurses Pledge along with the practicing nurses in the audience.

“You have done well thus far; however, the journey continues,” said Kathleen Collier, MPH SGU ’09, Master of Ceremonies and Clinical and Simulation Instructor, Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, SGU. “Please understand that life is full of complexities and the road to success is never easy. There will be obstacles along the way, but don’t get bowed down to circumstances rather make circumstances bow down to your power and perseverance.”

These words resounded with Kalifha Morris, a new inductee of the SAS nursing program. Ms. Morris too faced tough circumstances that caused her to walk away from her dream of becoming a nurse 10 years ago. However, she didn’t let them defeat her. She moved from New York to Grenada and spent the next five years trying to get her start in the nursing profession.

“To get into the SGU nursing program has been like a dream come true. I feel like I am meant to be here, and I’ve got big plans for my nursing career,” said Ms. Morris. “I decided to become a nurse about 15 years ago because I found that I’m always helping somebody. I’m always putting the needs of others before myself, sometimes to my own detriment, but I can’t help it. I find that I always feel the desire to help someone in need.”

The evening’s keynote speaker, Dr. Debra Porteous, Head of Nursing and Midwifery, Northumbria University, shared insight from her more than 35 years of experience teaching in a professional nursing/healthcare practice setting with the class of aspiring nurses. Relating the characteristics of a nurse in order to be successful, she stressed the importance of a caring nature, empathy, adaptability, communication, a strong work ethic, and both physical and mental endurance.

“Nursing is a truly inspiring and thoroughly rewarding career like no other,” she said. “However, for all of the amazing things we experience on a daily basis, there are also tough parts to deal with, like stress, long hours, and struggling to make time for family. Yet despite these struggles, nursing is full of exceptional people that do amazing life-changing work.”

“Nursing is a noble profession filled with wonderful people, and with the support of each other, you can go on providing great care to vulnerable patients all over the world,” added Dr. Porteous.

Uniquely structured, the nursing program at St. George’s provides an opportunity for students to be taught by professors from both the School of Medicine and the School of Arts and Sciences, as well as international visiting professors. In addition, student nurse training experiences include working at the Grenada General Hospital, lab work at SGU’s Simulation Center, and community-based learning opportunities. Currently in their third year, students of the Class of 2019 will end their training with the completion of regional and international licensing exams, and become fully fledged Registered Nurses as approved by the Caribbean Nursing Council.

SAS Lecture Series Discusses Effects of Parental Migration

Meschida Philip introduces her documentary at Patrick Adams Hall.

Meschida Philip, Grenadian filmmaker and founder of Meaningful Projekts Creative Group, recently showcased her documentary, “Scars of Our Mothers’ Dreams”, as part of St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences Open Lecture Series. The film, which offers a unique and intimate glimpse into the complexities of parental migration through the lenses of children left behind, was followed by a spirited panel discussion with the mix of faculty, staff, students, and the general public in attendance at Patrick Adams Hall.

The lecture was a collaborative effort between SGU’s Department of Humanities and Social Sciences and the University of the West Indies Open Campus.

“I wanted to start a conversation by looking at how children are emotionally affected when a parent is gone,” said Ms. Philip. “In most cases, we tend to focus on the financial gain—that parents were leaving to make better lives for their children. But what about the importance of nurturing the emotional connection between a mother and her child?”

Years after her own personal struggle to overcome the feeling of childhood abandonment, Ms. Philip returned to Grenada to share the stories of others with similar childhood experiences, describing how their lives were impacted after their parents migrated.

“I wanted to examine not just the economic benefits of a parent migrating but how we the children were affected emotionally and psychologically,” stated Ms. Philip. “Also, I wanted to find out if there were any common themes between myself and other people that affected us from childhood into adulthood.”

“Migration is a hot button issue right now that has both local and international appeal,” said Dr. Damian Greaves, Associate Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. “In the past, the focus would usually be on the great economic benefit to the Caribbean in terms of remittances from the diaspora. However, I thought it was very important to highlight Ms. Philip’s unique perspective when addressing an issue that is so little talked about but has such a large effect on so many in our Grenadian community.

“The purpose of this lecture was not only to start the conversation but also to bring an awareness to bear on the Grenadian public, that there are people who have been scarred psychologically and emotionally by the migration of their parents, who through no conscious and deliberate fault of their own, thought that they were building a better life for their children but were unaware of what transpired in their absence,” added Dr. Greaves. “Our hope is that when looking at the issue of migration we can be mindful of the social policies that are needed in order to affect change at the state level.”

Young Grenadians Turn Out in Record Numbers for SGU’s 2017 Career Day

Ten years since its inception, the St. George’s University and Rotaract Club of Grenada Career Day continues to be a success story, this year attracting more than 1,600 secondary school students and young adults from all over the country to the University’s True Blue campus.

Offering more career presentations than ever before, Career Day shined a light on fields such as luxury yachting, architectural design, accounting and finance, culinary arts, environmental sciences, physiotherapy, and public relations. In addition, Career Day representatives provided guidance on how to finance higher education, how to prepare for interviews, and how to dress appropriately in the workplace.

“St. George’s University provides an ideal venue to offer this kind of guidance to students in answering the oft-difficult question of what career to choose and empowering them to make that choice,” said Colin Dowe, Associate Dean of Enrollment Planning at SGU. “It is critical for our young Grenadians to think beyond a secondary education and to seek careers that utilize both their interests and strengths as they continue to develop for themselves, their families, and their country.”

In a continued effort to provide students the opportunity to experience more than the usual two presentations, this year’s Career Day also implemented for the first time the Career Track System. Four different career tracks were set up in each of the major halls on campus and students would remain seated as they listened to presentations in subjects related to their chosen field. The new system was effective in cutting down on assembly time, as students didn’t have to scour the entire campus to get to their different career listings. Another first was the introduction of the School of Arts and Sciences Alumni Interactive Session, which gave the students a break between each session and the chance to connect with SGU alumni.

Additional contributors to Career Day’s success were the Radioactive Grenada youth group, who served as both support staff and recorded the event’s welcome message. SGU’s Psychological Services Center (PSC) were also on hand to conduct student surveys to assess which personality traits would lend themselves to different types of careers.

Mr. Dowe once again led the ever-popular informative and interactive session for parents, for which attendance more than doubled that of the 2016 session.

“The parents’ session was very valuable, especially the 10 steps on helping your child choose a career path,” shared Cecil Noel. The retired Cable and Wireless representative was integral in setting up most of SGU’s telecommunications at the school’s inception and admits his bias in gladly sending his daughter to SGU. “I’ve always longed for the day that the University would be offering more than just a degree in medicine, and now with the School of Arts and Sciences, when the time comes, my daughter can reap the benefits of that.”

As the largest private employer in Grenada, the University continues to fulfill its mandate of being a good corporate citizen by taking the opportunity to expose these students to options beyond the traditional. With Career Day 2017, SGU hoped to assist students in making informed career choices and motivating them along their journey towards educational and career fulfillment.

St. George’s University Welcomes Charles Furey as Consultant in Canada

Charles Furey

Before embarking on a long career in government, Charles Furey served as a high school English and history teacher in his native Newfoundland. Thirty years later, he will help guide Canadian students toward their career goals once more, this time with St. George’s University.

In August, SGU welcomed Mr. Furey as a consultant to Canada. He adds to an experienced staff that also includes Sandra Banner, the former Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Resident Matching Service, who joined St. George’s University in April.

“Any new challenge is always exciting, and I’m really happy about working with Sandra, who has done an outstanding job,” he said.

At SGU, Mr. Furey will concentrate on three areas in his new position: recruitment, hospital electives, and government relations. He comes from a political family—his older brother, George, is the Speaker of the Senate in Canada. Charles Furey spent 15 years in government himself, winning five consecutive elections in Newfoundland and Labrador’s House of Assembly. He held such positions as Chief Electoral Officer; Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Recreation; Minister of Mines and Energy; and Minister of Industry, Trade, and Technology.

For 10 years, Mr. Furey was an independent consultant on advisory services, government relations, and strategy planning for a wide array of clients.

“SGU has such a great history, and I want to get into the hallways of power and explain what we’re doing to satisfy the demand for physicians, particularly in rural areas,” Mr. Furey said. “There’s a high demand that Canada can’t fill right now, and we have a great pool of students who can help.”

Mr. Furey’s career has returned to the education realm, which is where it began. He earned his Bachelor of Arts and Education from St. Francis Xavier University and taught in Conche and Stephenville Crossing before turning his sights to politics. Recently, he learned about the medical landscape when his wife, Vanessa, now a neurologist at the University of Ottawa, pursued and obtained a Doctor of Medicine.

Mr. Furey also hopes to set up elective opportunities that will enhance the chances for Canadian students to receive clinical training in their home country. More than 180 SGU graduates are currently practicing in Canada, and Mr. Furey had the pleasure of meeting four of them at a recent information session in Toronto.

“I was absolutely floored by the quality of these graduates,” he remarked. “They were well-spoken, sharp on their feet, and transparent, and had all obtained fantastic residencies. They really lit up the room.”

Mr. Furey said he welcomes the opportunity to meet with more alumni, clinical students, and prospective students at upcoming SGU events, including in Vancouver, Halifax, Toronto, and Ottawa this fall.

“I look forward to opening the toolbox and seeing what we can do for students,” Mr. Furey said. “We’re providing exceptional teaching, and I want to tell the story about the many great Canadians who chose a different path.”

Grenada Class of 2017 Encouraged to Climb From “Good to Great”

With an excellent education under their wings, sound advice to lean on and the world before them, greatness is within reach for the St. George’s University Class of 2017.

Such was explained by those who addressed the more than 300 graduates at this month’s commencement ceremony in Grenada, including an SGU alumnus who once stood in the graduates’ shoes. Joel Jack, BSc SGU ’03, an Assemblyman of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and the Keynote Speaker for the evening, implored his fellow alumni to find their passion, prepare for change, and embrace the future, citing Jim Collins’ inspirational book, “Good to Great.”

“When what you are deeply passionate about and what drives your economic engine come together, not only does your work move towards greatness but so too does your life,” said Mr. Jack, Deputy Chief Secretary and Secretary of Finance and the Economy of THA. “For in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life.”

Blossom Philbert, 2017 SAS Valedictorian

Joining him in the family of SGU alumni were graduates representing 33 countries across the globe. The 2017 class included nearly 150 students from the School of Arts and Sciences and more than 120 from the School of Graduate Studies. In addition, medical doctorates were conferred on 65 Caribbean graduates, with one new Grenadian veterinarian in attendance. Ceremonies for the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine will take place in June at New York City’s Lincoln Center.

In her address to the crowd, valedictorian Blossom Philbert, BSc ’17, also quoted Collins, saying “greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is a matter of conscious choice.” She went on to compare life to that of a book, but unlike the chapters of their textbooks, they could not flip forward to see how many more pages were left.

“My next chapter might last four years, whereas the person sitting next to me might write six chapters in four years,” Ms. Philbert said. “It matters not as along as those chapters are representative of the journey that leads to a life full of greatness, which will ultimately give a pleasant read when we flip back through its pages.”

Among the degrees conferred by the School of Graduate Studies, Dr. Trevor Noel became the fifth student — and first Grenadian—to earn his Doctor of Philosophy at SGU. Dr. Noel was simultaneously inducted into the Gamma Kappa Chapter of the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society for his extraordinary service to public health and invaluable contributions to the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF).

Dr. Rudi Webster

St. George’s University also recognized Dr. Rudi Webster with its Distinguished Service Award for his work spanning the fields of medicine, sports, diplomacy, and politics. Dr. Webster was instrumental in establishing the Shell Cricket Academy at SGU, where he served as Academy Director – an endeavor which signified that SGU was not just a medical school but much more. Several of SGU’s Shell Academy graduates went on to play for the West Indies cricket team, including Darren Sammy, who captained the team to two consecutive T20 World Cups.

“To this year’s graduates, all that you have achieved so far shows what you have learned and what you have done,” stated Dr. Webster. “However, it does not reflect what you can learn, and what you can become. That should be your focus now.”

“Many of us in the Caribbean believe that we are not good enough and that something is missing. This is incredible because the secret to our success already lies within us—it’s called self-acceptance. That was the secret of the West Indies Cricket team’s 15 years of success,” added Dr. Webster. “Self-acceptance is going to be the key to your success and it differs from self-confidence. Although your self-confidence may fluctuate depending on your success or failure, self-acceptance means you value yourself as a worthwhile human being regardless of if you succeed or you fail. We in the Caribbean are just as smart and have just as much talent as anyone else in the world, and I have proven that.”