University of The Bahamas (UB) and its partners in higher education will observe another crucial milestone as the institution continues to transition into a world-class institution, with the official opening of the Franklyn R. Wilson Graduate Centre on Thursday, May 17, at the Oakes Field Campus.
Envisioned as a centre of excellence, the facility is said to provide the critical resources necessary for students pursuing graduate degree programmes, designed to give The Bahamas a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.
UB President Dr. Rodney D. Smith noted, that the Franklyn R. Wilson Graduate Centre will become a beacon for higher learning in The Bahamas. It is the second multimillion-dollar facility that UB is officially opening this month. The first was Hawksbill Hall at UB-North in Grand Bahama.
“The learning and student experiences that will happen in this facility will help to steer our country towards a path of sustainable progress,” said President Smith.
“Our students and faculty will be fully engaged through the graduate programmes that are offered here in areas of national need. Equally as important, they will also interact with thought leaders and luminaries, create innovations and imagine new paradigms.
“In this way, the University of The Bahamas system enlivens its national development mandate. The impact of UB’s growth will ripple throughout the communities it serves.”
The Franklyn R. Wilson Graduate Centre has been a celebrated public-private sector collaboration. It came to fruition through a $1 million gift from legacy donors Sir Franklyn Wilson, KCMG and Sharon “Lady” Wilson (the first private donors to the project); a $1 million donation from RBC Royal Bank; and another $1 million contribution from the government.
Additional support from the Canadian Friends of the College of The Bahamas and Sunshine Holdings Ltd., helped facilitate the construction and equipping of the centre.
“I am persuaded that the University of The Bahamas has to be at the centre of prospects for The Bahamas being all it has the potential to be,” noted benefactor and Chairman of Sunshine Holdings Ltd. Sir Franklyn Wilson, KCMG.
“I am further persuaded that within the university, this gaduate centre offers the reasonable possibility to emerge as the intersection, where differing perspectives, grounded in different disciplines of study, are reconciled to identify the unknown…especially, but not limited to, matters concerning The Bahamas and its people.”
The energy-efficient facility comprises a conference room, classrooms, a faculty lounge, a student lounge and administrative office spaces. Another key feature is the RBC Royal Bank Auditorium, which is intended to be a focal point for RBC’s support of the next generation, as it prepares for the future world of work.
“For RBC, this is another important milestone in our 110-year history in The Bahamas,” said Nathaniel Beneby, managing director, RBC, The Bahamas.
“Our commitment to helping our clients thrive and communities prosper is also part of the foundation of this new graduate centre. By partnering with institutions like the University of The Bahamas, we continue to be invested in helping a new generation of future Bahamian leaders achieve all they can, to help build a strong and prosperous country.”
The official opening of the centre and auditorium will include a formal dedication ceremony, an exhibition, and a lecture in the auditorium by Executive Vice President and Head of RBC Royal Bank Personal and Commercial Banking for North America and the Caribbean Kirk Dudtschak.
Dudtschak will join Sir Franklyn and other distinguished guests in adjudicating the Business Barracudas competition following the event, where students will present their business ideas for evaluation by a panel of judges.
The first and second place winners will be awarded a combined $15,000 in cash prizes and mentorship courtesy of Sir Franklyn, RBC Royal Bank and the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA).