New UCCI president named

Dr. Hassan Syed was named the new president of the University College of the Cayman Islands Monday.

One of three remaining candidates after an extensive selection process, Mr. Syed, 40, was already employed at UCCI, having joined the institution three years ago. He was the department chairman of Computer Science and Technology prior to his appointment as president.

UCCI Chairman of the Board Danny Scott said Mr. Syed was chosen after an extensive search.

‘We considered more than 100 applicants from far and wide,’ he said. ‘Eventually, we brought that number down to four people, but one of the four withdrew at the last minute.’

The UCCI Board of Directors conducted personal interviews of the three and the Ministry of Education met with them as well, Mr. Scott said.

Afterwards, the Board and the Ministry made separate recommendations.

‘Interestingly enough, they were the same,’ said Mr. Scott, referring to the recommendations.

Mr. Scott said he was very happy with the selection of Mr. Syed, who he said is a Canadian citizen of Indian heritage.

‘He brings a business wealth and acumen to the table,’ he said, explaining that Mr. Syed has post-graduate degrees in three different disciplines, including engineering, marketing and computer sciences.

Another key factor in Mr. Syed’s selection was his vision of the future for the institution, Mr. Scott said.

‘We have to move forward and take UCCI to the next level,’ he said.

Mr. Scott praised the work retiring President Sam Basdeo, who will vacate his office on Friday, adding ‘we got everything we could out of him and couldn’t ask for more’.

Several changes are now in store for UCCI, Mr. Scott said, explaining that the Board of Directors wanted to wait for the appointment of the new president before implementing them because Mr. Basdeo would not have been able to see them through.

Although he would not elaborate on the planned changes at this time, Mr. Scott called them ‘exciting’.

‘We’ve done pretty well so far,’ he said. ‘We have created something Cayman can be proud of. Now we have to build on that.

Mr. Scott said one of the goals for the future is to have UCCI to become regionally recognised.

The Board of Directors plans to hold its first meeting with Mr. Syed next Wednesday, Mr. Scott said.

Education Minister Alden McLaughlin also expressed his delight at Mr. Syed’s appointment.

‘This heralds the beginning of an exciting new chapter in UCCI’s history,’ he said. ‘Change brings with it opportunities for progress, and Dr. Syed has demonstrated his commitment and ability to grasp these opportunities in the college’s continued development.

‘The Ministry looks forward to a long and productive partnership with Dr. Syed and the University College.’

Mr. Syed said he was honoured and privileged to be chosen as UCCI’s new president.

‘Our future development will strengthen our present offerings and take us to the next level of our growth,’ he said.

‘The future of UCCI is linked to the future of the Cayman Islands and the future looks bright.’