Staff of UCCI and friends paid tribute last week to Claudette Upton, managing editor of the university’s academic journal, who died a week before the latest journal launched.
At the launch ceremony of the Journal of University College of the Cayman Islands, her talents as an editor, and her dedication and devotion to the written word were honoured by those who had been edited by her and who had read and enjoyed the fruits of her work.
Chief Officer from the Ministry of Education Angela Martins, representing education minister Alden McLaughlin at the launch, said Ms. Upton, with whom she worked on Hearts and Sails, a book about catboats, released last year, was someone very close to her heart.
‘She helped me to understand what it means to be Caymanian,’ she said.
Ms. Upton died on Saturday 11 October following knee surgery.
She had been editor of numerous books and publications in and about Cayman. She researched extensively for Cayman’s Quincentennial celebrations in 2003, and was editor of the Cayman Islands history book, Founded upon the Seas, as well as a number of other works on the Cayman Islands, including Roy Bodden’s The Cayman Islands in Transition and Stories My Grandfather Never Told Me.
Former minister-turned-author Mr. Bodden, also paid tribute to Ms. Upton, saying she was ‘one of those rare few to whom we can truly apply the adjective irreplaceable.’
Describing her as an ‘editor par excellance’, Mr. Bodden said: ‘Not only could she weave a written paragraph or sentence into readable English but she was meticulous in her standards to ensure that what was written was indeed factual.’
Calling for a moment of silence at the launch gathering, Mr. Bodden said the community of the Cayman Islands was the poorer for Ms. Upton’s passing.
Ms. Upton, managing editor of the university’s journal, had been a driving force behind the establishment of the publication, the second volume of which was launched last Thursday.
Entitled The Caribbean: Issues, Challenges and Perspectives, the latest edition of the journal contained academic essays and manuscripts, including papers on education, teacher training, literacy, constitutional reform, Caribbean identity and the Caymanian situation, according to the foreword by the journal’s editor Livingston Smith.
The launch event at the Sir Vassel Johnson Hall at the university on Thursday evening included a symposium with discussions on a variety of papers presented by Professor Barry Chevannes of the University of West Indies, Christopher Williams of the University of Warwick, Brian Chapell, acting president of UCCI and Mark Minnott, professor of education at UCCI.
Mr. Chapell, after the launch, said the existence of the journal, known by its acronym JUCCI, would not have been possible without Ms. Upton’s contributions.
‘JUCCI has been successful beyond our expectations and we are so pleased to celebrate the launch of Volume two with this symposium. It couldn’t have happened without the dedication of Claudette Upton who served as Editor for the first two volumes.
‘She will be dearly missed by all at UCCI, and especially those involved with the publication of this journal. Her dedication, skill and professionalism cannot be overstated and will be evident to anybody who reads JUCCI or any other publication she has worked on,’ he said.
Ms. Upton is survived by her husband Martin Keeley.