January 23, 2019 | Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica | Byron Buckley/NCU/IAD
Civic leaders in Manchester praised Northern Caribbean University (NCU) for its sterling contribution to the community and the wider Jamaica during a recent thanksgiving service to mark the institution’s 100th year in the parish.
The church service is the first of several events to take place in 2019 to mark the institution’s contribution to the development of the parish and central Jamaica. The yearlong celebration is being held under the theme: “Serving Community for 100 Years, Changing Lives for Eternity.”
Among celebrants at the thanksgiving service held January 19, on NCU’s main campus were Custos Rotulorum and Justice of the Peace of Manchester Sally Porteous, Mayor of Mandeville Donovan Mitchell, Member of Parliament Mikael Phillips and Councillor Jones Oliphant.
Porteous noted that “NCU has played a pivotal role in shaping the lives of so many, and all those persons who worked to make [the institution] the success that it is, are to be commended for their efforts.” She added that at a time when the country needed strong leadership NCU has come forward and has given of its best, for which the country is grateful.
In congratulating NCU, Phillips said “not only have you given of yourselves to those of the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) faith, but you have given yourselves to everyone around this parish and this nation. You have shown us that nothing is wrong in putting God at the centre of everything that we do.”
Mayor Mitchell’s quoting of scriptures and his reference to SDA pioneer, Ellen G. White’s statements on “True Education” delighted the congregation.
Meanwhile, Councillor Oliphant, an NCU alumnus, recounted that the relocation of the then West Indian Training School from Riversdale, St Catherine, where it was founded in 1907, to Mandeville in 1919, made it possible for the “ordinary young man and the ordinary young lady from the country area to become extraordinary citizens of this great land – Jamaica.”
In his remarks NCU President Dr. Lincoln Edwards said that on an occasion such as this the university community must remember those whose vision and commitment created the institution. He also expressed thanks to those in the intervening decades who have worked hard and diligently to fulfil the mission of the university and bequeathed a strong legacy to the current stakeholders to expand their visions.
Dr. Edwards further stated: “NCU affirms its historical commitment to the integration of faith and learning, innovation and creativity, strong work ethics and service, its commitment to moral and ethical values, and to the Seventh-day Adventist heritage.”
He argued that institutions that survive for 100 years are to be considered with some measure of awe, because longevity is a trait that is difficult to come by in this post-modern era; and noted that staying the course for the long-hall is one of the characteristics that NCU epitomizes.
The church service also provided the opportunity for the NCU community to express thanks to God for the recent achievement of institutional accreditation from the University Council of Jamaica effective February 17, 2018. “I am extremely honoured to be the president for such a time as this, our centennial year in Manchester,” Edwards told the gathering.
Alumnus, Pastor Peter Kerr, vice chairman of the NCU board and president of the Atlantic Caribbean Union of Seventh-day Adventists delivered the sermon from Proverbs 30:24-28. He suggested that individuals and NCU as an institution should adopt visions akin to the behavior of the ant–preparation for hard times, the coney–protection and refuge in God, the locust–cooperation and unity, and the spider–determination when defeat looms.
Brief testimonies of thanksgiving were entertained at the service. Among the testimonies was that of a single parent, who, while not being Seventh-day Adventist at the time, chose NCU as the best option for her son. Years later, her son is an alumnus with a prosperous career. As testified by others, the work-study program and values of the institution were critical factors in establishing personal and career foundations.
NCU is owned and operated jointly by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica Union Conference and the Atlantic Caribbean Union Mission, which comprising the territories the Bahamas, Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Adventist institution offers over 70 degree programs, including graduate programs in sciences, business and education to more than 3,400 students throughout its main campus and extension campuses.
To learn more about the Northern Caribbean University and its programs, go to ncu.edu.jm