Holness gets honorary doctorate degree from Delaware State University Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness was on Friday the recipient of an honorary doctorate degree from Delaware State University in the United States.

Holness also delivered the commencement address to the graduates, the first head of Government to do so in the university’s 132-year history.

The degree, an honorary Doctoral Degree of Humane Letters, was conferred on Holness by President of Delaware State University, Dr Tony Allen.

“The class of 2024, you have one new classmate as a result of the prime minister’s tremendous professional career, personal integrity, (and) commitment to the task of honourable achievement,” said Allen, adding that the degree was the university’s highest honour.

In his address to the graduates, Holness highlighted his Administration’s achievements in increasing access to tertiary education for Jamaicans. 

He also reflected on his own university journey some 33 years ago, which he said was a “struggle” that he eventually overcame with the sacrifice of his parents.

“I often tell the story that I went to university on an adventure. I didn’t know where I would get the first cent, but I had faith that God had a plan for me,” said Holness.

“With the sacrifice of my parents; my mother a clerk in the civil service, and my father a small farmer, by working part-time, and by getting student loans, I made it through,” he indicated. 

As prime minister, Holness said he now has the opportunity to “pay it forward by ensuring that policies are in place to make it easier for students in my country to access student loans, grants and scholarships.”In continuing, he said: “My Government has removed the guarantor requirement for student loans. 

“We have removed fees for technical and skills training education, and we have increased significantly, the number of scholarships available,” Holness stated.

To the graduates, the prime minister charged them to “embrace the challenge of our time” and “engage with enlightened perspectives” in community and global affairs. 

Said Holness: “You are the ones to make our democracy work to deliver shared prosperity. 

“I charge you, the graduating class of 2024; embrace the struggle for good, be the voice of reason in your community, bring perspective to divisive issues, balance extremes, bridge divergent views, and bring stakeholders together to cooperate on local and global problems and find the elegant solutions that will keep bending that arc of morality to greater well-being, enlightenment, justice and peace,” he appealed.

Thirty-eight Jamaican students were among the 2024 list of graduates from the US institution. 

“… Hundreds of Jamaican students are accessing postgraduate studies through Delaware State University, and as you have just heard, 38 students are now part of this 2024 graduating cohort,” Holness pointed out.