Wes Moore to receive UCC honorary doctorate

THE celebrated Wes Moore, distinguished 63rd governor of the state of Maryland, USA, will be conferred with a doctor of laws degree (honoris causa) by the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC) at its annual commencement ceremony on July 16.

In making the announcement, Professor Haldane Davies, president of the UCC, said the UCC board of directors is elated that Moore has consented to receive the honorary doctorate and deliver the commencement address.

“He is a most eminent honoree and we are proud to welcome him to the UCC family and his maternal homeland,” Professor Davies said.

Maryland’s first black governor in the state’s 246-year history, Moore is just the third African American elected governor in the history of the United States. He was also the first black Rhodes scholar in the history of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, where he earned a bachelor’s in international relations and economics. As a Rhodes scholar he received a master’s in international relations from Wolfson College at Oxford.

Moore is also a graduate of Valley Forge Military Academy and College, where he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army. He has served as a White House fellow, advising on issues of national security and international relations, is a decorated army combat veteran, a best-selling author of inspirational memoirs, former Wall Street banker, social entrepreneur, and non-profit CEO.

Born in the USA of a Jamaican mother and American father, Wes Moore has had a commendable history of community contribution, including as chief executive officer of the Robin Hood Foundation from 2017-2021, the New York City-based organisation which helps to fight poverty in the city by funding food banks and shelters. During his tenure, the foundation distributed more than US$600 million towards lifting families out of poverty.

Prior to that, he built and launched the Baltimore-based business BridgeEdU, which reinvented the freshman year of college for underserved students to increase their likelihood of long-term success.

UCC honorary doctorates have been presented previously over the past decade to a number of distinguished professionals, including Professor Errol Morrison, former president, the University of Technology; Bruce Bowen, former president and CEO, Scotiabank Group; Dr Henry Lowe, executive chairman, Environmental Health Foundation; Richard Byles, former president and CEO, Sagicor Group; Gary Hendrickson, chairman and CEO Continental Bakery; Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Democratic member, US House of Representatives; Dorothy Pine-McLarty, chair, Electoral Commission of Jamaica; Marlene Street Forrest, managing director, Jamaica Stock Exchange; Leighton McKnight, retired territory leader, PwC Jamaica and PwC Caribbean leader for diversity, equity and inclusion; Godfrey Dyer, tourism and business titan; Dr Sandra Reid, professor, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine; and posthumously to the late Gordon “Butch” Stewart, founder of Sandals Resorts International, the Jamaica Observer and ATL Limited.