Benson Ebanks, after whom the University College of the Cayman Islands is to be renamed, says he thinks it would be more appropriate to have the campus rather than the entire institution named after him.
Premier McKeeva Bush announced last week that Cabinet had approved the renaming of the university after Mr. Ebanks, and that the Cayman Islands Law School would be renamed after Truman Bodden. Both men have served as ministers of education in the past.
“My view is that it should not have been the university at all. I feel that it should have been the campus. It should have been the University College of the Cayman Islands, Benson O. Ebanks Campus,” said Mr. Ebanks, a former minister of education who played a major role in establishing UCCI.
He said if the university is named after him, it would prevent another person being similarly honoured with the renaming of the satellite college of UCCI on Cayman Brac at some future point.
“For example, down the road, it might be thought desirable to have the Cayman Brac campus named after someone else. If the university is named after me, it blocks the opportunity of somebody else to get recognised,” said Mr. Ebanks, who was informed by Mr. Bush of the government’s plan to rename the university after him the night before the premier made the announcement in the Legislative Assembly on 3 August.
Mr. Bush, in his statement to the House, said it was fitting to rename UCCI as “the Benson O. Ebanks University College of the Cayman Islands, or the Benson O. Ebanks College”, adding that formal steps towards this would be undertaken shortly.
“I was not led to believe that the announcement was imminent or I might have given more thought to it at the time,” Mr. Ebanks said. “I was a bit surprised when I heard it the next day.”
He said other universities with more than one campus tended to have different names for their campuses, citing the example of the University of West Indies, which has the Cave Hill Campus in Barbados, the Mona Campus in Jamaica and the St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago. Those campuses are named after their locations.
Mr. Ebanks served as education minister from 1969-1972 and again from 1980-1992.
The other former minister of education after whom an educational institution is to be renamed, Truman Bodden, said he was “very happy and humbled” to hear the law school would be called after him.
“I’m honoured that it would be named after me,” he said.
The law school will be renamed next year as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations.
“We have trained a lot of Caymanians that otherwise would not have received training in law,” said Mr. Bodden, adding that the law school had “contributed tremendously to education in the Cayman Islands”.
Mr. Bodden served as minister of education in Cayman for 16 years. He helped with the establishment of the Cayman Islands Law School in 1982.
“Mr. Benson Ebanks put in a lot of time getting the community college [UCCI], up and running – the same as I did with the law school,” Mr. Bodden said.
He remains involved with the law school, attending every graduation ceremony and keeping in touch with former students, he said.