For Lloyd Barker, starting his college career at the University College of the Cayman Islands was the perfect way to test his abilities and make sure he was ready for the rigours of university study.
A 2011 graduate of Wesleyan Christian Academy, one of the smallest private schools on Grand Cayman, Barker worried about jumping into a large university environment.
“I decided to do my first year at UCCI,” Barker said. “I knew the quality of education was good. I knew if I could handle the workload there, I could handle the workload overseas.”
Now an attorney with Walkers, Barker is one of many successful alumni who say they owe much of their success to UCCI. His, and other such stories, will be a part of the highlights at the university’s first-ever homecoming gala event on Oct. 28.
“We expect this to be very popular event,” said UCCI President and CEO Stacy McAfee. “It’s a chance to bring together the larger UCCI community and for alumni to reconnect with one another.”
For any university or college, a robust alumni organization can be almost as important as its community of current students. UCCI is no exception. The homecoming event is part of an effort to bolster the network of former students.
“We’ve received great support from UCCI alumni over the years,” said President and CEO Stacy McAfee. “But we know there are many other members of the community who would like to reestablish their relationships with the university and with their fellow alumni.”
Tracy Hargrave, interim dean of science, technology, math and health, said a strong alumni network not only benefits its members but helps to strengthen the university.
“Graduates of UCCI have a special connection with the institution,” Hargrave said. “They are often our best supporters and cheerleaders. An alumni network can offer support and careers advice to current students, but it can also provide former students with a wealth of networking opportunities. The UCCI Alumni Network will provide a fun way for like-minded individuals to get together and help promote the institution. “
Barker considers himself one of the cheerleaders Hargrave talks about. He recommends UCCI to students when they ask about the path he took to his career.
“I tell people it was an opportunity for me to get a really good education,” said. “I felt quite supported there. I still have a relationship with a number of lecturers there.”
He said he’s eager to see the formation of an alumni group that would help support and promote the university college.
“Having an alumni network will help to keep the dialogue going to remind people of their experiences at UCCI,” he said, “and that it’s right down the road.”
Much like Barker, attorney Sean-Anna Thompson, an associate at Conyers, began her studies at UCCI in 2011 before going to England to complete her studies. UCCI, she said, gave her many of the tools she needed to be successful in earning her law degree.
Thompsonsaid she likes the idea of becoming part of an alumni network.
“I haven’t connected to UCCI,” she said. “It’s not that I haven’t wanted to, it’s just that I didn’t know how.”
The UCCI Alumni Network provides that opportunity.
“We are expecting great things as this moves forward,” President McAfee said. “There are so many talented people in our community for whom UCCI has played an important role. We know many of those graduates would like to help by playing an active and ongoing part in what UCCI is becoming. I encourage anyone who is interested to join us. UCCI is only as strong as its people and that includes alumni.”
With so many UCCI graduates going on to study and/or work overseas, it is easy to lose touch with alumni. If you know of other alumni that might like to join the network, please share this information with them. Interested alumni can sign up at: www.ucci.edu.ky/alumni. Follow us on our UCCI Linkedin account at https://www.linkedin.com/school/university-college-of-the-cayman-islands
and our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/OfficialUCCI/ to keep up with the most recent alumni news.