It has been three decades since the H Lavity Stoutt Community College was founded and the milestone was celebrated on 14 January with a special ceremony at the Territory’s top educational institution.  

Among the commemorative activities to mark the grand occasion was the planting of a tree. The event saw various instances of reminiscing on the journey of the organization since the Founding Chairman – Hon. H. Lavity Stoutt delivered on his vision for education in the Territory. 

In noting the journey of the institution  Deputy chair of HLSCC Board of Governors, Mrs. Fiona Forbes-Vanterpool said, “30 years ago this college was founded, a very short time in history and founding day provides us with an opportunity reflect briefly on the College’s history.” 

“When I reflect on the challenges that the founders of HLSCC must have encountered when the institution was started and with all of their vision and BVI tenacity. Our founders had to make choices about their community needs, and what they would need most over the decades to come. They decided ultimately that an institution of higher learning was the best way to help our people improve their lives, and so they set out to build an institution that would last and that would make the biggest difference for the citizens of the Virgin Islands,” she noted. 

The Deputy Chair of the Board announced that the organization has grown from strength to strength over the years and is poised for even greater accomplishments. “In 2015 HLSCC became the last international tertiary institution to be accredited by the renowned Middle States Commission on Higher Education. One of the institution’s most noteworthy accomplishments in my opinion has been the development of the relationship with other institutions of higher learning via articulation agreements, and memorandums of understanding. As a result of these relationships HLSCC has been able to offer programs beyond the associate’s (degree) level mainly bachelors and masters degrees and also postgraduate certificates and diplomas,” Forbes-Vanterpool added. 

Interim Acting President of HLSCC Dr. Richard Georges remarked that the College over its 30 years has transformed many lives including his. “Three decades ago our founding chairman established this institution and planted a seed that would transform the lives of thousands of Virgin Islanders and build the foundation for a modern BVI.” 

In noting that a lot is in the pipeline for the College Dr. Georges said, “I know that many people at the occasion of an anniversary are inclined to look to the past and rightfully so – we have come a long way and it is imperative that we are able to look at the path we have walked and the obstacles we have overcome in order to develop a full appreciation of our life thus far. As the college begins its fourth decade the administration and the Board of Governors are committed to positioning the institution to make real its mission to become a regional institution of choice. To accomplish this we have established four institutional priorities that outline the areas that we have chosen to focus on and develop.” 

Meanwhile, Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie declared that he noted the difficulties that had to be endured to found the College and he said that he envisions the achievements the Institutions will make going forward. “The future of HLSCC is beyond our imagination because if we limit our imagination then we can’t see where HLSCC is going – the dormitory, the video conferencing, the training is going to get the job done for the people of the Virgin Islands. This will not only be an institution for learning but it will be a tourism industry for tourism because people will come from all walks of life here — whether it is to get a degree, whether it’s to get training,” Hon. Fahie stated.