Ministerial Statement

To The House of Assembly

 

By

 

Dr. The Hon. E. Grant Gibbons, MP, JP

Minister of Education and Economic Development

 

The Bermuda College 40th Anniversary

“Forty Years and Forging Forward”

Friday July 18th, 2014

 

 

Mr. Speaker

I rise this morning to invite you, the Members of this Honourable House, and indeed, the people of Bermuda to join with me in celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the inception of the Bermuda College. Next week Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014, the Bermuda College will celebrate its 40th Anniversary.

 

Mr. Speaker

Honourable Members may be aware that in numerology, forty denotes the fulfilment or completion of promises. Certainly the Bermuda College has realized the dreams of its visionary founders who forty years ago anticipated an amalgamated campus that would prepare students for university, provide career education, and offer technical training in key areas identified by the Island in its still developing economy.

 

Mr. Speaker

The Bermuda College is planning a host of public events commencing next week Tuesday and into the year 2015 to celebrate its 40th Anniversary. I will later share a few of these events; but let me first cast the minds of my honourable colleagues back a few years to reflect on the historical progress of the Bermuda College.  

 

Mr. Speaker

On July 22, 1974, Bermuda College was established through the enactment of the Bermuda College Act, and formed as a result of the amalgamation of three flourishing antecedent institutions, namely:

  • The Bermuda Technical Institute (1956), originally an all-boys secondary school, that went through a series of transitions as the College of Further Education (1969) and then later as a unit within the Department of Commerce & Technology (1974);
  • The Bermuda Hotel & Catering College (1965) which actually had its beginnings as a domestic science school on Front Street back in the 1930s; and,

 

  • The Academic Sixth Form Centre (1967)

 

After the passage of the Bermuda College Act, its first Board of 12 Governors was appointed. The Chairman of the Board was Mr. Thaddeus Trott, a noted hotelier and businessman. Mr. Mansfield “Jimmy” Brock was the first Chief Executive Officer (1974-1977) at the Bermuda College while Dr. Archie Hallett became the first President (1977-1992).

 

Mr. Speaker

In 1978, the Bermuda College Board of Governors acquired the 26-acre Stonington property in Paget. A master plan was developed and the Government of the day provided funds to commence construction of a unified campus the following year. The following timeline provides insight into the focused planning with which the campus construction was undertaken.

  • 1980 - The Stonington Beach Hotel (now Coco Reef Resort) and the teaching kitchens were completed and occupied. During the summer of 1980, the Hotel welcomed its first guests – a honeymooning couple. This facility and the opportunity it provided distinguished the hotel-oriented programmes at the College from similar programmes offered in other higher education institutions at that time.
  • 1980 – South Hall was completed (now Brock Hall named after the first CEO, Mansfield Brock)
  • 1988 – New Hall was completed (now Hallett Hall named after the first President,  Dr. Archie Hallett)
  • 1990 – the Student Centre was completed
  • 1991 – the College Centre was completed
  • 1992 – the College Library with its iconic clock tower was completed
  • 1993 – the West Hall/Faculty Centre was completed; and in
  • 1996 – the North Hall and the Technical Education Centre (Tech Hall) were completed

 

Mr. Speaker

Under the energetic leadership of the first Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Mansfield H. Brock Jr. the College made great strides in upgrading and developing curricula for the education and training of young Bermudians. These included putting in place advisory committees with memberships drawn from professionals in local businesses and developing programmes for major trade areas to ensure that Bermuda College graduates were well equipped for employment in the applied sciences and trades.

 

Similarly, basic programmes for the hotel and business industries were developed, while university-preparatory work of the earlier Sixth Form Centre was developed through curricula matching the educational pattern of North American universities. This enabled students to obtain credit at an advanced level for the coursework undertaken at Bermuda College which initially served as an alternative to the GCE 'A'-levels. Hence its rapid success in gaining recognition in North American universities soon made it the primary programme for university transfer.

 

 

Mr. Speaker

Today the Bermuda College offers: 20 Associate Degree programmes in a wide variety of subjects unheard of back ‘in the day’ such as actuarial science; computer information systems, electronics technology and web development; 9 certificate programmes and 12 diploma programmes. In addition, the former adult and continuing education division, currently the Division of Professional and Career Education (PACE), offers 24 external certificates that include eleven professional designations; six workforce development certificates; and seven training and development courses. The College also offers its own Associate Degree in Science for Nursing with the Island’s only state-of-the-art Simulation Lab. The Bermuda College hosts the renowned CISCO Academy on campus for the latest training in computer information systems to international standards; and, it has become the premier training centre for the Bermuda Government Human Resources and Workforce Development Departments.

 

Mr. Speaker

In 2010, the Bermuda College completed a seven-year journey of academic affirmation by being granted full accreditation status by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) – the same prestigious agency that grants accreditation to such Ivy League universities as Harvard, Yale, and MIT.  At that time, the College was only the seventh international institution to be accredited by this prestigious commission, and the first institution so honoured in the Caribbean and Latin American Region.

 

Mr. Speaker

Forty years is indeed a milestone for this academic icon in the local community. The Bermuda College has, and continues to fulfil the promise of higher education and career dreams for all who walk through its doors. It has survived philosophical differences about its purpose and debates about its academic mandate, including those questioning its comparative value to larger and older overseas colleges and universities. Yet in spite of all this, Bermuda College continues to progress and demonstrate its fundamental value to those in the local community and beyond.

 

Mr. Speaker

Commencing in the Fall semester, the Bermuda College will celebrate a seminal moment in its forty-year history, when approximately 40 dual enrolment students will simultaneously be enrolled in high school and college courses - 10 of whom will be full-time students at the College.  These are students who have sat the North American Accuplacer college placement test, and successfully tested into college-level English and Math courses, some just having completed their S2 year. This means that in September, they will be taking college-level courses and completing their high school requirements to graduate. Within this cohort of students will be the first students eligible to graduate with both a high school leaving certificate AND an Associate’s Degree.

 

 

 

Mr. Speaker

The Bermuda College has served our Island well!

I invite my Honourable colleagues in the House and the general public to join in and support the launching event of their year-long celebrations next week Tuesday, July 22nd at 6:30pm, when Alumni, faculty, students and friends of the Bermuda College will make the nostalgic walk from the old Roberts Avenue campus in Devonshire to the current site at Stonington Avenue in Paget - a Bermuda College to Bermuda College (BC2BC) Sunset Walk. There will be brief speeches and a commemorative tree planting ceremony just before the walk commences.

 

Mr. Speaker

In closing, the Bermuda College has planned several upcoming activities which include a Tag Day, a Golf Tournament at the Belmont Golf Course, a 70’s party, a Bermuda Day Float, and a Community Outdoor Movie Night, to name just a few of the events that will take place. All will incorporate the Bermuda College 40th Anniversary theme: “Forty Years and Forging Forward”.

 

Happy 40th Anniversary, Bermuda College! As their Motto states:

Mirabilia magna portendi — Great and wonderful things are foretold!

 

Thank You Mr. Speaker