Last Thursday Dr. Richard Georges was sworn in as the president of H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. Photo:SCREENSHOT

Last Thursday, for the first time in Virgin Islands history, an alumnus of the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College was sworn in as the college’s president.

“Today it is a wondrous feeling to be standing before you 23 years after I walked onto this campus for the first time,” Dr. Richard Georges said during the ceremony.

The event, which was streamed live on Facebook, began with a drumming group leading a procession of HLSCC and government officials into the auditorium.

Reverend Esther Georges, Dr. Georges’ mother, delivered the invocation.

“We pray that he will always rejoice in truth and knowledge that he is the child of the living God,” she said.

Dr. Georges is the seventh president of the college. He also holds the title of the territory’s first poet laureate, and he won the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature last year for the latest of his three poetry collections.

‘Solid leaders’

Premier Andrew Fahie spoke a few words during the ceremony, calling the occasion “auspicious.”

“The [BVI] needs more leaders today, solid leaders like Dr. Georges,” he said. “Leadership is Dr. Georges’ purpose.”

Mr. Fahie added that the time has come for HSLCC to become a four-year university both in person and online. He went on to say that the college has faced a crossroad and that the territory must “chart a successful destiny.”

Mr. Fahie was Dr. Georges’ homeroom teacher and math teacher at the then-BVI High School, and he said he recalled seeing him sitting next to now-Deputy Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley in school.

Dr. Wheatley, a former HLSCC instructor, also spoke, calling the investiture of Dr. Georges a “vision realised.”

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, but the late great [Dr. Lavity Stoutt] still had a vision,” he said. “He had a vision that we would be able to direct our own destiny. … When Dr. Georges, a graduate of this institution, has now become its president, I would say the vision of our late great founder has been realised.”