Audrey Dean-Wright Memorial Endowment Established at University of The Bahamas
28th May 2021
University of The Bahamas (UB) has cultivated the musical and educational genius of many Bahamians who have, in turn, nurtured the same prowess in others. It is this perpetual cycle that the Audrey Dean-Wright Endowment for the Arts Support Award will nurture.
Not only does the award memorialize the passion, indomitable spirit and extraordinary talent of a beloved musical icon, and educator, it will help full-time students enrolled in the School of Communication and Creative Arts and the School of Education to fulfil their dreams. Mrs. Dean-Wright passed away two years ago and had a lifetime of national and international accomplishments to her credit.
Recently, a virtual signing of the Memorandum of Understanding was held to establish the memorial endowment with a $25,000 gift from acclaimed artist Mr. Antonius Roberts, OBE. The award will fund scholarships for eligible scholars.
“A lot of people talk. A lot of people dream, but Audrey has always been a ‘doer’,” said Mr. Roberts, a longtime friend of Mrs. Dean-Wright. “Always passionate about not necessarily just her music, but also passionate about teaching and transforming the lives of young people through music. So, I’m very happy to be a part of this occasion, and I’m really looking forward to the good that will come out of this scholarship.”
Members of the Dean-Wright family and friends as well as UB officials were present for the ceremony and reminisced about the musical matriarch. Retired foreign services officer and ambassador Carlton Dean-Wright reflected on his wife’s sacrifices and deep love for UB as he thanked Mr. Roberts and the university for honouring her legacy.
“I believe it is a fitting recognition to the life and legacy of my late wife Audrey, pianist, chorale conductor, composer, poet, lecturer, associate professor, culturist, etc.,” he said. “She was devoted and committed to College of The Bahamas, University of The Bahamas, for whom she was so willing to sacrifice so much, sometimes even her family was put on hold.
“She was a very talented woman who found a way to make things happen when there seemed to be no way. It is hoped that through the establishment of this award, the recipients will reflect the kind of competence, commitment, and dedication for which she was known.”
President and CEO of UB Dr. Rodney D. Smith expressed his gratitude for the establishment of the award and lauded the impact that the master musician had on the lives of many people.
“We know that in perpetuity, through this Endowment for the Arts Support Award, her life is going to continue to influence in a positive way, the lives of generations yet to come,” noted Dr. Smith.
“Audrey will always live on in our hearts and in our minds. Often times I think of Audrey and I feel her presence still at the University and I think it’s because she has affected the lives of so many people. Individuals who are faculty members, staff members, and thousands and thousands of students who attended the University.”
UB’s Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Alumni Affairs Mr. Dino Hernandez also expressed his gratitude for the gift.
“In keeping with the late Mrs. Audrey Dean-Wright, whose life’s passion and works flourished through music and poetry, this $25,000 endowment will support students enrolled in the School of Communications and Creative Arts, and the School of Education,” said Mr. Hernandez. “Your generosity allows us to remember an outstanding educator, cultural enthusiast, and community icon, while demonstrating your support of the University and our students poised to make profound and lasting impacts in The Bahamas and globally.”
Mrs. Dean-Wright, who passed away in October 2018, left an indelible footprint on the Bahamian landscape. One of The Bahamas’ most prolific composers, she created over 250 original compositions. In 2005, South Carolina State University bestowed upon her the title “Composer Extraordinaire”. She was a choral director par excellence, serving in this role for a number of choirs including the College of The Bahamas and University of The Bahamas Concert Choirs, which have earned international recognition for their performances; the Bahamas National Children’s Choir, the Nassau Renaissance Singers and the Seventh-Day Adventist Meistersingers.
In 2019, UB announced the establishment of the Audrey F. Dean Wright Visual and Performing Arts Endowment for the Arts. Also announced at the time was the establishment of a foundation named in honour of Mrs. Dean-Wright to support undergraduate education in the arts for Bahamian students at UB; to facilitate the exchange of scholarly information; support the construction of an arts museum complex at the University and expand the UB Arts Immersion Programme.
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University of The Bahamas
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Chartered on 10th November 2016, University of The Bahamas (UB) is a beacon for national transformation. Approximately 5,000 students are enrolled in the University of The Bahamas system which includes campuses and centres on New Providence, Grand Bahama, San Salvador and Abaco, as well as UB online education. UB’s diverse academic programmes, research engagements, athletics and leadership development experiences equip our students to become global citizens in a dynamic world. For more information, visit www.ub.edu.bs.