“It is my pleasure to make a contribution to this institution which is serving a fantastic purpose for our young Caymanians,” said retired United States Air Force (USAF) Captain and former civil servant Dale Morrison Banks when he donated a copy of his Master’s thesis to the UCCI Sam Basdeo Learning Resource Centre on September 26, 2018.
Submitted to Troy State University as part of the requirements for the Master of Science in Management, the thesis is entitled “Aspects of a Developing Society.” Captain Banks said the idea for the research paper came from a collection he amassed over three decades. “I was away in the air force for 32 years. My mother sent me every copy of every newspaper ever published in Cayman so I was getting little bits and pieces from what I was reading. When it came time for a thesis, I wanted to expand on this and my adviser agreed.”
The military veteran had one goal in mind when he made the donation to UCCI. “When students look through it,” Capt. Banks said, “I want them to be inspired to do research. It’s a very abbreviated thesis but it will give students an idea of where we came from and what direction to go.”
Mrs. Lucille Kong, Director of the Learning Resource Centre, remarked that the thesis will be added to the library’s growing Caymanian Collection. “Capt. Banks’ research paper will help in the expansion of students’ knowledge especially as it relates to the Caymanian society,” she said. “Currently our collection has over 100 titles including a few dissertations done specifically on Cayman and its people. Our students will continue to be enriched as we build on it.”
Born in West Bay on October 9, 1936, Captain Banks attended the Miss Bell Franklin and Miss Izzie Powell’s all age schools. He said that classes were often conducted under a shady guinep tree which still stands near the West Bay Clinic.
He passed the first and second year Jamaica Local Pupil Teachers Examination by age 15. At 17, he graduated youngest in his high school class of 600 students in Jacksonville, Florida.
After that, the “little barefoot boy from Boggy Sand Road” went on to do great things including 30 years of active duty with the USAF where he was decorated 31 times. He served in 10 bases in eight different states within the USA as well as Iceland, Vietnam, Puerto Rico, Germany and England. He was promoted 10 times and served with distinction in various enlisted and commissioned officer ranks.
Upon his return to Cayman, he was employed as Assistant Chief Immigration Officer and later Director of Trade and Labour for 13 years. Since his return he has been involved in various community advocacies and was a long serving President of the Cayman Islands Veterans Association. For his services to the nation, he received The Order of the Cayman Islands Medal of Honour at the rank of Commander and his name is inscribed on the National Wall of Honour.
UCCI President J.A. Roy Bodden, a long time acquaintance of the Captain and his wife Miss Beverly, expressed his appreciation for the donation. “Capt. Banks is very well respected within the community as a private citizen but also when he was Director of Labour,” he said. “I am sure that his thesis will be a good foundation to our students who want to get a grasp of the kinds of challenges we face in this area.”
The captain also presented the President with a personal copy of the thesis with a message saying, “Thank you for the crucial role you played in helping to steer the good ship ‘Cayman Islands’ past many a reef.”