President of Northern Caribbean University Abruptly Retired at Constituency Meeting


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In a surprise to the community, the retirement of Herbert Thompson, Ph.D., president of Northern Caribbean University, was announced during a special constituency meeting held on Tuesday, June 14. The opportunity for Thompson to "pursue personal interests" was stated as effective the day before by Everett Brown, president of the Jamaica Union Conference. The school's leader since 1990, Thompson had just been reelected for another five year term in December 2010.

The Jamaica Observer writes:

Thompson, who holds the Order of Distinction, Commander Class, and serves as a Justice of the Peace, has been credited with spearheading the transition of West Indies College to NCU in 1999 and with elevating the institution's status, but his leadership has not been without controversy. For example, he has been chided in some quarters for the strategies used in attaining university status, a process which involved widening the student base to include non-Adventists. He has also been criticised as being authoritarian and arrogant, characteristics which have often put him at odds with the university board, faculty and staff. And there has been some amount of disquiet among some groups about his association with the Electoral Commission of Jamaica, of which he is an independent member.

The university declined giving the reason for his sudden departure, but said it had nothing to do with a series of e-mails being circulated apparently seeking to bring the trained bio-chemist into disrepute.

Trained as a biochemist, Thompson leaves Northern Caribbean University with an enrollment of approximately 5,600 students from 23 countries on four campuses across Jamaica. A highly respected member of the Jamaican community, he is the author of books like Jamaica, Rebuilding the Walls which argues for a Jamaicans to reduce divisions in an effort to rebuild the country and Rural Gumption, an autobiography.

According to Jamaica Union reporting, at the special constituency meeting conference president Everett Brown stated that "my profound gratitude goes to Dr. Thompson and by extension, his family for their outstanding contribution to NCU over the past decades. . .the university has grown tremendously under his leadership. On behalf of the Board of Governors I wish him all the best in his future endeavours." Brown "also announced that the current vice-president for academic administration, Dr Tehran Milford, is to be promoted to provost and will act in the vacated position until a permanent replacement is identified."

Herbert Thompson was not present at the announcement of his retirement to the special constituency meeting held in the university's gym.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/3225