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Tributes Flow for the Founding Member of The UWI Cave Hill Staff

For Release Upon Receipt - Monday, September 24, 2018

Senior administration and former staff members of The UWI Cave Hill have poured in their tributes to the late Dr Anthony Phillips. He was one of the early lecturers at the campus, and contributed much to what is known about the early beginnings of the campus through his article, “From Harbour to the Hill”, published in the Jamaican Historical Review in 1988.

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor

Tony was an ideal colleague and quintessential team man. The kindest, gentlest soul imaginable occupied his person. Never in my near four decades of knowing him have I ever heard him utter an ill word of anyone or raised his voice in vexation. Men possessed of such a phenomenal nature were defined as gentlemen.

Professor V Eudine Barriteau, Principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor of The UWI Cave Hill,

On behalf of the The UWI, Cave Hill Campus, I express our heartfelt condolences to the widow and family of the late Anthony Phillips, a founding faculty member of the Campus. In all my interactions with Tony, what struck me most was his very gentle nature and the mischievous, sparkling twinkle in his eyes. You had a sense there was always an anecdote waiting to be told. The Campus is richer for his over 40 years of dedicated service.

Professor Alan Cobley, Pro Vice Chancellor and Chair (Board for Undergraduate Studies)

Tony was the sweetest, gentlest soul. As the founding member of our department, he had vast experience and was always ready with advice, but had too much humility to offer it unbidden. He loved the discipline of history, and embodied the principles of fairness, kindness and respect for others in his life and work. He also had a lively sense of humour and a taste for puns. He seemed to belong to a kinder, gentler age. Pauline [my wife] and I send our most profound condolences to Sylvia and the entire Phillips family on his passing.

Professor Emeritus Sir Woodville Marshall

Dr. Phillips is a person of historic proportion inside the Cave Hill campus. He is the man who formally started history on the campus in 1963 and stayed for about 40 years.

A large number of students passed through his hand, and he helped to form the intellectual development of many students.

I found him [at the department] when I came in 1970, and we were colleagues for 30 years. He was a good colleague and understood collegiality. He never said no, he offered advice and suggestions, whether it was informal or structural, such as at Board of Studies or other meetings. One could not have wanted a better colleague.

He was also a good scholar. He was our resident expert on the political and constitutional development of Barbados. The institution of The UWI Cave Hill and Barbados by extension, has lost an important person.

Andrew G. Lewis, Former Registrar

Dr. Anthony ‘Tony’ De Vere Phillips was a pioneer and builder of our Cave Hill Campus in Barbados. He was the first full-time lecturer in History at the ‘Arts college at the Harbour’, the term many used in 1963 to describe the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of the West Indies. He, along with a small but enthusiastic band of scholars (many part-time) and under the inspired leadership of Professor Leslie Robinson and later Sidney Martin, got the Harbour/Cave Hill project on the way. Its success then demanded passion, commitment and scholastic legitimacy, for it was beginning in a physical environment somewhat uninviting and barren-looking: part of the newly-built Bridgetown Harbour site, with slender resources, sparse facilities and many skeptics. ‘The Harbour’ was certainly no Oxbridge, no Codrington College. No Mona, even! The first 110 of us undergraduates, considered by some as ‘guinea pigs’ required the careful attention and calming assurance which Tony and his colleagues gave us, and the promise of success.

Tony would stick to the task for four decades and would see its enrolment rise to close to 8000, and the ‘Arts and Sciences’ extend to Law, Business and Medicine. He would later recount the survival journey in his reflective commemorative journal article, ‘From the Harbour to the Hill’.

As our Lecturer, he was detailed and careful, and his sources extensive. With his memorable English-sounding accent, he took us meticulously and thoughtfully through the Renaissance and Middle Ages, and introduced us to West Indian History. His preparation and delivery exemplified and inspired the high level of scholarship and research expected of us. In later years when I returned to the Campus as a senior administrator, he continued to give me his wise advice and quiet support. He remained the solid example of one who was known never to have spoken ill of anyone: colleague, friend or foe. I remain in his debt.

On his passing, I wish to extend my own and my family’s sincere condolences to his widow, Sylvia and daughters, Angela and Joan.

Dr Henderson Carter, Head – Department of History and Philosophy

Dr Anthony Phillips was born in the parish of St. Lucy on February 10, 1939. He attended Harrison College between 1950 and 1958, won a Barbados Government Scholarship in 1958 and proceeded to the Mona campus to take a history degree. Upon graduating from Mona, he took his M.A. at the University of London, Kings College, graduating in 1964 and completed his PhD in 1992 at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. He returned to the classroom in the mid-1990s and completed the LL.B. degree in 1999.

When the Cave Hill Campus opened in 1963, Dr Phillips was the first person to be recruited as assistant lecturer to teach history and played a leading role in organising the programme of the Department of History. He moved up the ranks to lecturer (1966), lecturer on tenure (1971), senior lecturer (1988) and Head of Department between 1988 and 1991. All told, he served for 41 years in the department. He was fully supportive of the departmental programmes, particularly the Oral History Project, and was always on hand at departmental seminars to give encouragement and support to young scholars.

As one of the early lecturers at the campus, Dr Phillips has contributed much to what we know about the early beginnings of the campus through his article “From Harbour to the Hill”, published in the Jamaican Historical Review in 1988. However, his main research contribution was in the realm of political and legal history, where he published papers and articles on the parliament of Barbados, World War 1, and the labour movement. He was also editor of the journal of Barbados Museum and Historical Society between 1988 and 1995.

Dr Phillips retired from the University on October 1, 2004 and is fondly remembered by his colleagues for his “Englishness”, good sense of humour and “scholarly air”. He leaves to mourn his wife, Sylvia and daughter, Angela and Joan. On behalf of the Department of History and Philosophy, I extend sincere condolences to his family. May he rest in peace.

Professor Emeritus Pedro L V Welch, Former Deputy Principal, The UWI Cave Hill

It is with sadness that I learned of the passing of Dr. Phillips. He was an iconic figure in the establishment of the Department of History, being the first person to be appointed to that Department.

I met him as a student in 1977, when I entered the UWI (Cave Hill) to read for the BA degree in Caribbean and Latin American Studies. His classes were inspirational. I recall one of his instructions, rendered without a hint of laughter: our essays were to be "like a mini-skirt, short enough to make the presentation interesting, but long enough to cover the essentials". I also recall his announcement at the end of an examination session. "My My!How time flies when we're having fun". For a student who was struggling to complete the last sentence of an essay before the final announcement – "Please stop writing" – the humour in Tony's statement might have been missed, but he was one of the few lecturers in our undergraduate programme who appeared to retain the capacity to laugh at himself and understood that life wasn't to be taken too seriously if we were to survive the stresses and strains of University life.

Apart from those of us who were history majors, he also taught in the campus-wide programme known as the Development of Civilization. Inmy own academic journey, it was Tony who encouraged me to present my first postgraduate seminar paper. In that case, I had been preparing some research material in the photocopy room of the Faculty of Arts and General Studiesand had inadvertently left a copy of a very badly written draft on the desk. Tony found this andpromptly announced to all and sundry that I had created a potential masterpiece and thatI should be presenting the very next seminar paper. I was suitably embarrassed, but in the face of that supreme confidence in my ability, I coulddono less than to agree to present the seminar, albeit prematurely. Later, when my Ph.D thesis began to take shape, it was Tony, again, who persuaded me, againstmy own fears, to submit it to a US-based Professorfor critical comment. Later, as a colleague in the Department, I was to benefit from his copious capacity for encouragement. I counted him as a friendand extend my deepest sympathies to his family. May he restin peace and rise in glory!


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