University of the Virgin Islands Celebrates 60th AnniversarySep 14, 2022 12:00PM ● By Candice Stewart
Nestled in the Caribbean nation of the US Virgin Islands and spread across two campuses of St. Croix and St. Thomas, the University of Virgin Island (UVI) is historically American, uniquely Caribbean, and globally interactive. Approximately 2,500 students are enrolled across the Albert A. Sheen Campus on the island of St. Croix and the Orville E. Kean Campus on the island of St. Thomas. UVI offers 47 undergraduate and graduate degree programs across its five colleges and schools.
With rather close proximity to the beach, one might think that UVI is a tourist resort. Its beauty is visible through the lush green grounds decorated with trees and flowering plants at almost every turn. The tropical climate and crisp clean air, has the ability to refresh your senses as you traverse the campuses.
University of the Virgin Islands Diamond Jubilee logo | Source: University of the Virgin Islands
Earlier this year, UVI began the celebration of its Diamond Jubilee anniversary as one of the Caribbean’s higher learning institutions and a member of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) family. Former Morehouse College President Dr. Robert Franklin Jr., author of “Moral Leadership: Integrity, Courage, Imagination,” graced the occasion with his keynote message on “Moral Leadership and the Role and History of HBCUs”
On his part, the UVI President, Dr. David Hall said, “while every Charter Day commemoration is notable, this year’s 60th anniversary, which highlights our resilience and innovation, takes on even greater significance when we consider the unprecedented events in our world today. Amidst great uncertainty and turmoil, UVI’s continued excellence in fulfilling our mission over six decades is an incredible testimony to the foresight and fortitude of our founders as well as our dedicated faculty, staff, alumni and an exemplary Board of Trustees.”
“Reaching this milestone is the result of our unfailing vision, consistent labor, and collective perseverance, and I am immensely proud of the achievements of our students and alumni, not only within the walls of the University but also on the world stage,” he said.
The University of the Virgin Islands was chartered on March 16, 1962, as the College of the Virgin Islands. It was a publicly funded, coeducational, liberal arts institution by Act No. 852 of the Fourth Legislature of the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to that law, the educational institution’s primary objective is to provide for "...the stimulation and utilization of the intellectual resources of the people of the Virgin Islands and the development of a center of higher learning whereby and wherefrom the benefits of culture and education may be extended throughout the Virgin Islands."
The first campus was opened on St. Thomas in July 1963, on 175 acres donated by the federal government. One year later, in 1964, the college founded a second campus on St. Croix, on 130 acres also donated by the federal government.
Read 'Let's Talk About HBCUs':
A little over 22 years after it was chartered, the College of the Virgin Islands was renamed the University of the Virgin Islands in 1986. This was done to reflect the growth and diversification of its academic curricula, community and regional services, and research programs. In that same year, the United States Congress named UVI one of America's Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). As a result, UVI holds the distinction of being the only HBCU outside of the continental United States.
On Dec. 19, 2017, the University’s Board of Trustees approved offerings for online degrees. Through the newly established UVI online division, UVI began course offerings and programs in a 100% online format in 2018. The degrees offered online range between Bachelor of Science in Cyber security and Master of Science in Leadership
According to the US News College Compass, the University of the Virgin Islands ranks at:
- 35th in the Regional Colleges South
- 22nd in Best Value Schools
- 42nd in Top Performers on Social Mobility
- 6th in Top Public Colleges in the South
With 60 years under its belt, the UVI not only continues to excel and break barriers but also boasts of more than 7,000 alumni who have become physicians, attorneys, judges, politicians, university administrators, teachers, nurses and many other professionals. Among the many accomplished former UVI students are two Rhodes Scholars and a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist.
Read about FunTimes HBCU Discourse:
What is an HBCU - White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities – US Department of Education
UVI History – University of the Virgin Islands
About UVI – University of the Virgin Islands
Honorary Doctorates – University of the Virgin Islands
University of the Virgin Islands Rankings – US News College Compass
UVI Looks Forward to Historic 60th Charter Day Anniversary Celebrations – University of the Virgin Islands
UVI to Commemorate 60th Anniversary with Yearlong Celebrations – University of the Virgin Islands
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