Naming Ceremony for University Drive and University Commons
At the Naming Ceremony for University Drive and University Commons, held on Monday 3rd April 2017, Prime Minister The Rt. Hon. Perry Christie challenged the University of The Bahamas to involve itself in national governance. The celebrants touted the name change as a fulfilment of the vision of Bahamians going as far back as one-time Minister of Education Arthur D. (AD) Hanna.
University Drive, from the six-legged roundabout to the roundabout at Poinciana Drive, is now University Drive.
And “corridor eight,” the two-lane road that links Thompson Blvd. – now University Drive – with Blue Hill Road, is now University Commons.
Christie gave the keynote address at the brief ceremony celebrating the renaming. He spoke to the “preeminence” of the name “University of The Bahamas,” and to his commitment that the name change would be followed by all of “the trappings and organs of a university.” Moreso, the prime minister focused on the environment he hopes to see at the University, an environment conducive to students having a deeper and broader understanding as to their role in the future of the country.
He posited that the challenge of the University of The Bahamas was this: there is a dearth of information about the assets of The Bahamas, and he said it was not good enough for professors to hold a place in academia and not be able to say what the assets of The Bahamas are.
Said he: “Who is going to do the research that will determine what our assets are? Why do we have to wait another ten years for this to happen? Will the university see it is important to involve itself in our governance?…This is the challenge to the university: to be integrated into modern governance in a way where it is even able to privatize, through a corporate entity, professors who will go in and be counterparts to the experts who come in, and for the university to begin to bank for future generations the research and information that is garnered from all of the plans that are being done.”
Meanwhile, UB President Dr. Rodney D. Smith said the change represents another step towards the creation of a University Zone.
“It will serve as another visible marker for those who live in this community and for those in the country, that we are growing a university, not just to impact and exist behind these walls, but to engage and impact the neighbouring community and our country as a whole,” he said.
The UB president asserted that, while over the years the institution has worked with community activists and reached out to the Bain and Grants Town and Big Pond communities, the solidification of the University Zone will mean “a much deeper level for significant impact” on both communities.
“We are currently working on creating a programme that will have all of our students engage in significant community service. This programme will touch on many areas, including the environment, literacy, partnerships with existing programmes and more. However, we would like for our greatest impact to be right here in the community where the university lives,” Dr. Smith said.
He added that renaming the major thoroughfares is a significant step in nationally promoting the importance of our university and thereby, tertiary education, and brands the Oakes Field area as one of “erudition and innovation.”
Davis, whose Cabinet responsibility includes the roadways, said that since the time of the transition towards university status, the University of The Bahamas has been steadily remaking the visual elements of its streets: he said the roads, adjoining buildings, sidewalks, street furniture, trees and open spaces around its campus all herald the brand of “Knowledge, Truth, Integrity.”
“This is no small gesture. This is especially important to UB as the address – University Drive – publicizes the properties to which it leads…Beyond that, the world will now know that our nation is being built around a university,” Davis proclaimed.