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With God's Help

University College of the Cayman Islands President Roy Bodden

The University College of the Cayman Islands again marks the start of its new academic year with an inter-faith service, this year scheduled to take place on Sunday, 12 September.

Parents, guardians and other well wishers of the college are invited to join the faculty, staff and students for the ceremony taking place at UCCI campus' Sir Vassel Johnson Hall, at 4:00 pm.

The philosophy supporting the community-wide invitation to join in the service is President Roy Bodden's vision of a college that broadly connects with and serves the community: "UCCI is an inclusive community resource that's open to everyone."

Further, Mr. Bodden conceptualises UCCI as a place that identifies and promotes the values of Cayman's still largely God-fearing community. It is a perspective that coalesces with his philosophy of the goals of education: "UCCI is a place for the development of the 'whole man'," Mr. Bodden explained. "While academics, the arts and culture will always be important components, spirituality must also play a vital role."

As it happens, the new president's professional avowal to those values mirrors his personal creed. As a practising Christian, he considers it vital to seek an annual renewal of God's guidance and blessings as he prepares to lead the institution into the new academic year: "This is our chance to invoke His blessings on the school year as well as to worship as a college community."

Attendees will share hymns, scripture readings and prayer. Three brief motivational presentations, liberally spiced with instrumental and vocal musical performances, will focus on various aspects of the service's theme Establishing Priorities.

Participating guests will include officials from the Ministry of Education, Training and Employment; Chair of UCCI's Board of Governors Berna Thompson-Cummins; St. Ignatius Catholic Church's Rev. Paul Ballien; Pastor Shian W. O'Connor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church; Elmslie United's Youth Director Ray McLeod; Pastor Alson Ebanks from Church of God Chapel; Church of Christ's Rev. Martin Royer; and musicians/vocalists Messrs Joseph Bent and Clive Bennett.

Aside from the value to be derived from the service's messages, Mr. Bodden hopes that the service will serve as a significant plank not only in the construction of a solid spiritual and academic foundation at UCCI, but in the integration of the university and the Caymanian community.

In furthering these goals, he's already planning musical and theatrical presentations, the first of which are planned for the 2010 Christmas season. These events will be similarly open to public participation and support.

In advancing the role of integration on a more regular basis, President Bodden, an avowed proponent of life-long learning, has introduced a new "auditing" arranging that will enable anyone in the community to attend classes free from constraints of regular attendance or examinations. These persons need only pay for the course(s) they elect to attend.

Mr. Bodden also invites interested persons to use the college library, attend open lectures, and drop in on college course offerings.

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