Bahamian Architects Invest in Human Potential Through Endowment Fund at UB
1st September 2020
Nassau, THE BAHAMAS — Five acclaimed Bahamian architects, whose lives have been positively impacted by University of The Bahamas (UB) and each other, have contributed towards the establishment of an endowment fund that will make an enduring impact on full-time, undergraduate students of architecture at UB. Their gift will play a pivotal role in the lives of those who will design and shape The Bahamas of the future.
Owner and Principal of Henry A. Hepburn & Associates, Mr. Henry Hepburn; Owner of Alexiou & Associates, Mr. Michael Alexiou; Chief Executive Officer of The Beck Group, Mr. Fred Perpall; Owner and Principal of Michael Diggis and Associates, Mr. Michael Diggis; and Owner and Principal of Anthony Jervis Architects Ltd., Mr. Anthony Jervis have collectively donated $25,000 for the establishment of the Architecture Endowment Fund. The fund will allow for scholarships, study abroad opportunities and a distinguished lecture series, key areas which will extend access to tertiary education for architecture majors and facilitate additional international exposure and knowledge sharing.
On Friday 28th August, 2020, a virtual memorandum of understanding (MOU) ceremony marked the endowed fund’s establishment.
“The University is always pleased to partner with donors who have particular passions and areas of interest, as these five men do, but we at UB are particularly pleased to partner with them because they are five men who have, in a few different ways, been connected to the institution for a long time, and have already played important parts in the life of our architecture programme and its students,” said UB President Dr. Rodney D. Smith during the virtual signing ceremony.
“Among these donors are lecturers – current, past and visiting – an alumnus and past commencement speaker, and mentors to some of the students in our architecture programme. These are men who have a relationship with UB and have made the decision to deepen that relationship through this endowment.”
UB’s architecture programme has been steadily growing over the years and through their practicum experiences, students have been contributing to the design vision for local and international projects including the UB-North campus in Grand Bahama and The Bahamas’ pavilion for Expo 2020.
From his Dallas, Texas-based office, UB graduate Fred Perpall said growing up in the inner city of New Providence and having the opportunity to go to college as a first generation college student literally changed his life and the life of his entire family.
“To have a great country, we have to provide opportunities for the young people amongst us,” he said. “With this gift, we are ensuring that more kids from all walks of life get the opportunity to fulfill their curiosity and to actually lean into a profession that is so meaningful.”
Mr. Perpall recalled that that his first college lecturer was fellow donor Mr. Hepburn, while his first employer was fellow donor Mr. Alexiou, whose firm he worked in part-time while studying at COB. He expressed enthusiasm for standing shoulder-to-shoulder with men who paved the way for him to succeed and create opportunities for all Bahamians to succeed.
“I think a great country is an inclusive country,” he said. “We need to ensure that all of our citizens who have lived the entire Bahamian experience get to participate in shaping the physical environment in which we live. So it is important that we have true empathy in terms of the way of life of Bahamians and that we absolutely allow all Bahamians to enter the design profession to shape the environment that they want.”
Mr. Alexiou reflected that in 1975 when he first returned home from college, the architecture sector was dominated by expatriates. Since then, a lot has changed. With the execution of the MOU, he said, students should be able to capitalize on new opportunities and expand the profession locally.
“Our interest is to see young Bahamians reach higher goals,” noted Mr. Alexiou. “We’d like to create world-class opportunities for all Bahamians even if they cannot afford to experience them. Today, Bahamians have a lot to be proud of, but we expect those that follow to reach higher; higher not just because we want to, but because we must understand that this is a different world filled with many different challenges.”
The design environment is much different now than it was before, and as the world confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, architects are being challenged even more to evolve in the designs which they envision.
“It is imperative that architects stand in the gap, especially now as we fight this COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mr. Hepburn, a veteran member of the UB faculty. “For us architects, health, safety and well-being are not new to us. They are the mantra of our profession, a duty of care. In order to progress to the post-COVID era, our design approaches must now adapt to the hands-free environment as we have the opportunity to produce design strategies globally for industrial, commercial, institutional and even residential facilities to enable risk management.”
He added, “As my colleagues and I have come together on this momentous occasion, that of signing this architecture endowment fund, we hope to see the expansion of knowledge as it regards the profession of architecture. We seek to promote innovative design applications for sustainability and accessibility, in addition to supporting local Bahamian students who seek to become part of our profession.”
Donors Michael Diggis and Anthony Jervis were also present for the signing ceremony.
UB’s Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Alumni Affairs Mr. Dino Hernandez lauded the donors and longtime supporters of the institution.
“The University’s mission can only be fully achieved when members of the community come forward to help this important work. We are, indeed, grateful that these esteemed members of the Bahamian architecture community have decided to join us on this mission. Providing greater access to tertiary education is also a part of the mission of the University, and partnerships like this one, significantly help to increase access for deserving students.”
Office of University Relations
University of The Bahamas
2nd Floor, Michael H. Eldon Complex
Oakes Field Campus
P.O. Box N-4912
Nassau, The Bahamas
Tel: (242) 302-4355/4354/4365
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.