Grenada and Campus Post-Ivan Progress Report

Hurricane Ivan dramatically changed life in Grenada overnight, yet there is an eagerness and determination among Grenadians to rebuild, restore and reclaim the contours of pre-storm life. Throughout the island, businesses, families, schools, churches, and communities have begun the arduous process of restoration. Visitors to the island are deeply affected by the damage done by Ivan, but their first observations are that there is a strong sense of purpose to rebuild this beautiful island and that the spirits of the Grenadian people remain high.

The University staff, faculty and administration welcomed almost 300 returning Arts & Sciences, premedical/preveterinary, and Masters of Public Health students on to the True Blue campus September 28th and October 4th.

There was no structural damage to the buildings or to the infrastructure on the campus according to the assessors and insurance companies who examined the campus post-Ivan. There were lots of displaced roof tiles and broken windows which caused water damage to parts of the campus.

The campus is overun with workers who are clearing roof tiles, repairing subroofs, replacing roof tiles and windows, and continuing the process of cleaning up

Staff members have resumed their duties at the University. In addition to their regular duties, they are helping with the clean-up and restoration and some are helping with relief efforts on the island.

Housing: Over 50% of the dormitory rooms are habitable and are being used to accommodate Arts & Sciences and Graduate students as well as relief workers and foreign electricity workers, who are assisting with the reconstruction of Grenada’s infrastructure.

Communications: The infrastructure of the phone and fax lines is intact, and the lines are working, with a few disruptions to service. Mobile phones remain the most reliable means of communications. However, the phone service is getting demonstrably better each day. University personnel can be contacted via e-mail. The University can also be reached through its regular central telephone number: (473) 444-4175.

Water supply: The desalination plants are operational and the water supply on campus is adequate. The supply is occasionally disrupted due to testing and repairs on campus.

Power: The University’s 1.5 auxiliary generator has been supplemented by a 1.2 generator. This allows full power on campus, and it allows the University to provide power to the entire True Blue peninsula.

Library: The library is presently open to students from 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. The library did not suffer much damage at all. Our computer labs continue to be available to the university community so that they can keep in touch with friends and family via the internet.

Safety: There have been no reported crimes on the campus and reported storm-related crime seems to have waned. Safety of the university community continues to be a priority for the administration. In addition to having our regular security, we are hosting military personnel from the Regional Security Services. The university has also tightened security at the point of entry and the point of exit of the university to help ensure the safety of all students, staff, faculty and other visitors to our campus.


Although to a newcomer, the destruction seems dismaying, the progress that is made each week is astonishing. Roads have been cleared; stores and businesses are opening up, although not in continuous operation; houses are being repaired; and utilities are being restored. It is heartening to see fresh leaves on the trees, clean roadways and green foliage. It is a reminder of the ability of the environment and by extension, human beings to adapt and rejuvenate.


Air travel: The Point Salines International Airport resumed commercial operations from Monday, September 13, 2004. At the present time it is open for daily operations from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Land travel: All main roads are passable and public transportation is now fully operational. The University buses have also resumed normal operations.

Power: The Grenada Electricity Company, ably assisted by regional and international organizations, is working tirelessly to restore power to the island. Already, power has been restored to the hospital, to the streets within the town of St. George and some homes where the power lines were not destroyed within the parish of St. George’s. The areas include Grand Anse, True Blue and L’ Anse Aux Epines. In some areas within the parishes of St. Andrew and St. Patrick, the power supply was never disrupted.

Water: Although a number of lines and mains were damaged or destroyed, service has been restored to the vast majority of communities and businesses throughout the island.

Communications: All telephone companies on the island are operational. Mobile phones are working and are for the time being, the main medium of communication. A number of land lines, including, some at the University, are also functional and Cable & Wireless crews have begun restoring other land lines.

Food Supplies: The Food Fair supermarkets located at the Grand Anse Shopping Centre and the Carenage, St. George’s are open for business between the hours of 10:00am and 3:00pm daily. Although a few items are in scarce supply, most food items can be purchased there.

Banking facilities: All commercial banks are open on a daily basis for a few posted hours. ATM machines are operational.

Medicine: Most over the counter and prescription medication can be obtained from the pharmacies which have also re-opened for few hours each day.

Security: The security situation is greatly improved from the period immediately following the storm. There is a very visible presence of personnel from the Regional Security Services. A 12 midnight – 5 a.m. curfew remains in effect.

Please see the related article on SGU/WINDREF relief efforts on the island.

October 28, 2004

New Associate Dean of Clinical Studies

Dr Daniel D RicciardiA new Associate Dean of Clinical Studies for St. George’s University was named in the school’s effort to further expand and enhance the excellent clinical program that is already in place.

Dr. Daniel D. Ricciardi was named Associate Dean of Clinical Studies for St. George’s University effective June 1, 2004. Based in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Ricciardi, under the leadership of Dr. Stephen Weitzman, Dean of the School of Medicine, is charged with the operation of the U.S. clinical program in the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut).

“My job is to make sure the clinical program is fully functional for each and every student in these hospitals,” Dr. Ricciardi said. “We want to give St. George’s students the full clinical experience from both an academic and a professional point of view and we want to offer every student every opportunity to choose what they need and what they want during their rotations.”

Prior to assuming his new post, Dr. Ricciardi served as Director of Medical Education at Long Island College Hospital. He has been active in the healthcare industry in the New York area for many years, serving on several hospital boards. His experience in the New York City hospital business has amply prepared him for his role as Associate Dean, especially in reviewing new sites for programs.

Dr. Ricciardi hopes to take the clinical program to all five boroughs in New York. “I am looking to expand the program and offer St. George’s students the opportunity to do their rotations in almost any hospital in New York, including in Manhattan,” he said.

Dr. Ricciardi proudly joins the ranks of four other Associate Deans of Clinical Studies – Dr. David L. Brown, Dr. Orazio Giliberti, Dr. John Madden, and Dr. Frances McGill.

A member of the charter class of St. George’s University graduating in 1981, Dr. Riccardi decided to become an SGU trailblazer after seeing an ad in the New York Times in 1976. “I was like Christopher Columbus discovering Grenada and discovering St. George’s – and it was great,” Dr. Ricciardi recalled.

Published on 10/06/2004



Allen H. Pensick, PhD Named Provost

Allen H. Pensick, PhDAllen H. Pensick, PhD, the new Provost at St. George’s University, was living and working in Nebraska as a farmer and horse trainer and was a faculty member at the University of Nebraska when he learned of an open position at St. George’s University. He kept the farm and his love of horses intact in Nebraska and decided to further pursue his love of teaching down in Grenada. He joined the University in 1984 in the microbiology department then located on SGU’s temporary campus in Barbados and has taught and lectured at the University ever since. He became Associate Dean of Basic Sciences in 1989, was named Dean of Basic and Allied Health Sciences in 1992, and became Chairman of the University Council of Deans in 2001. He also served several times as elected chairman of the School of Medicine Faculty Senate.

Dean Pensick is involved in every aspect of University life – from students, to faculty, to other administrators, to the local, regional, and international educational community. The various roles he has played at the University have helped him to understand and recognize the needs and concerns of these diverse groups. He teaches in both the undergraduate and medical schools, keeping in touch with the grass roots of education – teaching. He also advises about six students each year – a mix of men and women from all over the world. “Being involved with the students in this way keeps me in touch with what’s going on with the students, raising my awareness of the issues they may be facing,” Dr. Pensick commented.

As Provost Dr. Pensick will further enhance his roll in the University’s commitment to positive growth and expansion to meet the needs of the local, regional, and international communities. “St. George’s University will continue to be involved in a cooperative way with other institutions in the Caribbean region to support and promote education,” Dr. Pensick said. “We’ve made inroads and have had success regionally and we’re looking to expand on our commitment. On an international level, St. George’s has established itself as a premier institution for higher education.”

Published on 10/06/2004

Research Funds Secured

The Liverpool Support Center, with funds from the Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Department for International Development (British Overseas Development Fund), have agreed to fund the Windward Island’s Research and Education Foundation’s (WINDREF) role in the regional lymphatic filariasis eradication program for the upcoming year. Dr. Calum Macpherson, Director of the WINDREF, an independent research institute located on the True Blue Campus of St. George’s University, stated that the funding amount is yet to be determined, but is expected to be around US$50,000.

In addition to supporting WINDREF’s involvement in this worthwhile program, the funds will provide educational support for St. George’s University PhD student Dr. Shamdeo Persaud, MPH student Karen Cummings, MD and MSc Microbiology student, Ede Langevine, current Head of the Department of Medical Technology at the University of Guyana. This recent news means that the two new students can begin in August.

Dr. Macpherson explained that this is an exciting continuation of WINDREF’s positive international links with the global alliance for the eradication of lymphatic filariasis. As the Director of Research and Dean of Graduate Studies for St. George’s University, Dr. Macpherson is also pleased that St. George’s University has been selected as the regional post graduate institute to facilitate this training program.

Published on 07/19/2004

Dr. Merle Collins – Grenadian poet and novelist

Dr. Merle Collins, called the foremost writer of Grenada, is the author of two novels, Angel (1987) and The Colour of Forgetting (1995), a collection of short stories, Rain Darling, (1990), and three collections of poetry, Because the Dawn Breaks (1985), Rotten Pomerack (1990) and Lady in a Boat (2003). She also co-edited a collection of creative writing entitled Watchers and Seekers: Creative Writing by Black Women in Britain (1987). Her work has been published in several anthologies. She has just completed a novel, Invisible Streams, not yet published.

Her work has been lauded by Robert Nye in The Guardian, London: “…a richness, a thickness, a stinging slangy that-there thingyness of observation and detail”, by Paule Marshall: “A testament to the resiliency and strength of Black women the world over” and in the Publisher’s Weekly – What distinguishes this work is its lyrical rendering … combination of artistry and objectivity ….”

Merle Collins is not only a writer but a teacher and holder of a Guggenheim Fellowship, awarded for the academic year 2003-2004. Raised in Grenada, Dr. Collins attended St. Joseph’s Convent in St. George’s before starting her university education at the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica, where she received a B.A. in English and Spanish. After graduating in 1972 she spent several years teaching at the St. Joseph’s Convent, St. George’s, Grenada, Mac Donald College, Sauteurs, St Patrick’s, and Castries Comprehensive Secondary School, St. Lucia.

She later attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., earning an M.A. in Latin American Studies and a Certificate in Translation (Spanish into English) in 1980. She then studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London, where she received a Ph.D. in Government.

It was while she was in England that she began writing her first novel, Angel, a story about a young woman growing up in Grenada during the political tensions, namely the U.S. invasion. “I was in England and looking back at Grenada from afar,” Dr. Collins said. “It was a privilege growing up in Grenada.” Dr. Collins attributes most of her writing to her childhood in Grenada and often writes in the Caribbean dialect.

During the years 1984 to 1995, she taught at the University of North London, England. Merle Collins is now Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Maryland, where she teaches Creative Writing and Caribbean Literature.

Since 1995, she has been Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Maryland, where she teaches Creative Writing and Caribbean Literature. Since then, Merle Collins has directed the University’s Study Abroad program for courses taught in Mexico, Grenada and London. She has also been Visiting Professor at the School of Arts and Sciences, St. George’s University, Grenada.

Published on 03/26/2004

Mr. Rodney Croft Assumes Role of UK Dean

Mr Rodney Croft Portrait“I am greatly honored and privileged to have been asked by the Executive Dean Dr Stephen Ayres and by the Chancellor Dr Charles Modica to become Dean of Clinical Studies UK, a post which I am very pleased to accept. I accepted in the firm and comfortable knowledge that Peter’s legacy has greatly strengthened the UK Clinical Faculty, a legacy which I and all the members of the UK Executive Committee are equally determined to maintain and further build upon.

I wish to thank all the members of the UK Executive Committee and other senior Faculty members of the Medical School and University for their quite overwhelming and spontaneous expression of support and good wishes for the future. A future about which I am very sanguine, as I know with your support, it will be both successful and productive. Our ties with our colleagues in both the Caribbean and the USA are strong and I know I speak for you all when I say we very much intend to continue to strengthen them further.”

The University community has welcomed Rodney Croft, who has been associated with the University since 1980, to the leadership role in the UK.

Rodney Croft has had a distinguished career in Surgery and Undergraduate medical education. He gained his medical degree at Selwyn College Cambridge and The Middlesex Hospital Medical School in London and whilst at Cambridge was the President of the Cambridge University Medical Society. As a Consultant General and Vascular Surgeon for the past twenty five years at The North Middlesex University Hospital in London, he has for this time been very much involved in teaching St. George’s medical students and has been a Clerkship Director, Director of Medical Education and latterly UK Chairman of the Department of Surgery. He has also served on the SOM Executive Committee, Clinical Division Executive Committee and the Clinical Division Curriculum Committee.

His knowledge of UK Undergraduate medical education is also extensive, having been Clinical Sub-Dean at the Royal Free Medical School in London for thirteen years and during this time was a member of The Royal Free Medical School’s Council for nine years. He has served on numerous committees involved with undergraduate medical education over many years. He is the UK Principal Expert for Cardiovascular Implants and represents the UK on National (BSI), European (CEN), and International (ISO), Committees, writing Standards for Cardiovascular Implants. Last year, he was appointed National Expert for the Clinical Investigation of Cardiovascular Devices by the UK Medicines and Health Care Products Regulatory Agency at the Department of Health. He has published over forty works on general and vascular surgical topics and continues to publish.

He is a Freeman of the City of London, a Fellow of The Royal College of Surgeons of England, The Royal Society of Medicine and The American College of Surgeons. He served in the Royal Naval Reserve for ten years and his recreations include music, classical, choral and jazz, and also rowing. He is married with three grown up children.

Rodney Croft plans to continue to strengthen the UK programme as more students take advantage of clinical training experience in the UK, which reached record levels last year. He intends to lead an active public affairs campaign to emphasise, to the Department of Health and the General Medical Council, the contribution that the University can make towards alleviating the current shortage of doctors in the National Health Service.
Read Mr. Croft’s article on the history of the appellation.

Published on 01/05/2004