Dennis Walcott appointed Honorary Distinguished Fellow of The University of the West Indies

The University of the West Indies is pleased to announce that Mr Dennis Walcott, former Chancellor of the New York Department of Education, has been appointed Honorary Distinguished Fellow of The University. As Chancellor in the New York City Administration under then Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Chancellor Walcott oversaw a system of more than 1,700 schools, with 1.1 million students, 136,000 employees and a US$23 billion budget. Over a 12-year period, there were transformative changes in education in New York City, including a 40% increase in the graduation rate, a reduction by 50% of the dropout rate, and crime in schools reduced by 93%.

Before his Chancellor appointment, Mr Walcott had served for more than eight years as Mayor Bloomberg’s Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development and in that capacity coordinated the operations of the Department of Education, the New York City Housing Authority, the Department of Youth and Community Development and the Mayor’s Office of Adult Education.

Prior to joining the Bloomberg administration in 2002, Mr Walcott was President and Chief Executive of the New York Urban League where he expanded educational and youth service programmes including Jeter's Leaders and Bridge to Brotherhood programs, Healthy Start, Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership and the 140th Street Building Block Program.

Prior to joining the Bloomberg administration in 2002, Mr Walcott was President and Chief Executive of the New York Urban League where he expanded educational and youth service programmes including Jeter’s Leaders and Bridge to Brotherhood programs, Healthy Start, Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership and the 140th Street Building Block Program.

From time to time, The University may appoint as Honorary Distinguished Fellows persons of outstanding regional and international stature and prominence, such as Prime Ministers from the region, Heads of significant regional organisations, internationally acclaimed scholars, authors, poets, musicians and artistes. While the position of Honorary Distinguished Fellow is an honorific, non-salaried one, The University would provide the Fellows with an enabling atmosphere that might encourage such Fellows to produce memoirs and learned writings, to engage in scholarly seminars, to mentor graduate students and to deliver public lectures.

Mr Walcott and his wife, Denise, have re-located to Barbados for one year. The University believes his experience in educational reform would be invaluable to The UWI. It is further expected that he would partner with the regional institution in exploring the establishment of a presence in New York City.

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