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Posted: Friday 23 December, 2022 at 11:04 AM

A Tribute to Dr Beverley Steele, Former Resident Tutor, The UWI School of Continuing Studies, Grenada

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By: The UWI, Tribute

    Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal. Thursday, December 22, 2022 — The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Open Campus is saddened by the loss of Dr Beverley Steele, CBE, LLD (honoris causa), Former Resident Tutor of The UWI Extra-Mural Department and the School of Continuing Studies who transitioned on Monday, December 19, 2022. Dr Steele served at The University of the West Indies in Grenada for thirty-two years from 1973 to her retirement in 2005. 


    Dr Steele contributed outstanding service to The UWI and had a significant impact on the procurement of funds from the Inter-American Foundation for the construction of the Marryshow Folk Theatre which opened in 1982. The University's outreach efforts within the Grenadian community were greatly expanded with the establishment of this creative arts centre. Marryshow House, as it is fondly called, due to its former owner, the illustrious T.A. Marryshow, became a focal point not only for plays but for lectures, panel discussions, workshops, and meetings. In the book Breaking Down the Walls: An Evolution of the Extra-Mural Department, The University of the West Indies 1947 -2000, it is noted that under Dr Steele's tutelage, Marryshow House became 'a hive of productivity'. The author further noted in reference to Dr Steele, that she, 'in the best tradition of resident tutors, … exercised her alchemical touch to good advantage' (Fergus, Bernard & Soares, 2007).


    As an educator and historian, Dr Steele authored two books; Grenada: A History of Its People; and Grenada In War Time: The tragic loss of the Island Queen and other memories of World War II. Her book Grenada: A History of its People, is highly regarded by Grenadians both at home and in the Diaspora as it provided an avenue for ordinary Grenadians to easily read about their history, while also being accepted by the academic community. She maintains that the book was created with the ordinary Grenadians in mind, as a way of giving back to the people their history. Her great commitment to the creative arts in all their expressions is in part motivated by her conviction that, without them, we run the risk of producing graduates who are inflexible and citizens who lack social consciousness.


    Deeply concerned with national and regional pride, Dr Steele did much to instil in the minds of Grenadians the importance of honouring and respecting their heroes who built the nation, the only way, she believes, any populace can achieve true maturity. She revived the memory of Theophilus Albert Marryshow who at one time had apparently been forgotten. She also popularized “heroes” like Pansy Rowley, Betty Mascoll, Buzz Butler, and others in the Truly Discover Grenada Magazine (excerpts from citation written by Dr Francis O. Severin, 2010).


    During her public and professional life, she served on numerous committees. Following her retirement from The UWI in 2005, she remained active in several initiatives, including the Buildings and Monuments Committee of the Government of Grenada (2005); the Eminent Persons Selection Panel (Grenada) of the Ansa MaCal Laureate Awards (2006); and the Grenada-Jamaica Association (GRENJAM) (2007) to name a few. 


    She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree in 2010 from The University of the West Indies for her outstanding contribution to the Region. As a UWI alumna, Dr Steele also received the Pelican Award in 2018 from The UWI Alumni Association for her sterling contribution to Education.


    Dr Steele was a Caribbean stalwart of known repute, a contemporary advocate of distance learning and outreach, an illustrious Grenadian citizen, and an intellectual guerrilla par excellence. Her contribution to historiography and education is a legacy that has left an indelible mark on the people of Grenada and the Region. In ruminating on her passing, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Francis O. Severin revealed, "It is the calibre, stature, pedigree and integrity of Resident Tutors like Dr Steele which made me aspire to the office of Resident Tutor and Head, as well as made me feel it was a high and elevated office, not in terms of remuneration, but in what the office holder could do to advance the lives of our compatriots in our own villages, hamlets, towns and cities. Dr Steele was the archetypical and exemplary 'intellectual guerilla' and her passing may authentically be described as the end of an era. I am happy to have known her."


    The University of the West Indies Open Campus Executive Management Committee offers its sincere condolences to her family and friends and hopes that they will find comfort in the legacy she left behind. May her soul Rest In Peace.








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