ICCI celebrates 45 years of quality education

“COLLEGE OPPORTUNITY for all Caymanians on our own shores!” … So declared a one-page pullout advertisement included in the Sept. 24, 1970, issue of the Cayman Compass’s predecessor publication, The Caymanian Weekly.

It was, so to speak, the birth announcement of the International College of the Cayman Islands.

Today, we are pleased to feature the people and history of ICCI in celebration of its 45th anniversary – this time on the front page of our newspaper.

Initial course offerings, consisting of night classes and day classes, included art, anthropology and sociology, applied arts, biology, business, economics, education, English, French, health, history, music, philosophy and religion, physical science … and even piano lessons by arrangement.

According to the 1970 announcement, signed by founding ICCI President Dr. J. Hugh Cummings, the “College Diploma” then offered at ICCI was “equivalent to the completion of the third or Junior year of the four years Bachelor’s Degree program in an American College or University.”

It goes without saying that “much has changed” at ICCI, and in Cayman, since those first classes convened in Newlands in fall 1970.

Today, the academic offerings still cover a broad array of subjects, but are organized a bit differently. Now ICCI offers associate and baccalaureate programs, bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees. It has maintained international accreditation as a degree-granting institution since 1975.

Cayman, meanwhile, has experienced a growth spurt in terms of population and economics. In 1970, at the cusp of the “Cayman miracle,” our country boasted a population of just more than 10,000 people, compared to nearly 60,000 in 2014. In 1970, some 23,000 tourists arrived in Cayman by air for the year (a figure that is now surpassed on a per-month basis) – and a grand total of 300 passengers disembarked from cruise ships (less than one-tenth the capacity of a single average-sized cruise ship today).

Oh, and then there’s the country’s explosion into an international hub for financial services. Back when ICCI opened, the first Cayman dollar had yet to be printed, and the official currency of the islands was still the Jamaican dollar.

But upon a review of our archives, we are able to report with some satisfaction that, throughout the decades, the guiding principles of ICCI have remained constant, and no doubt have contributed to the institution’s longevity. The following paragraph from the original 1970 announcement, we believe, encapsulates nicely the spirit of ICCI: “The college pledges to offer quality education and thus will maintain high standards. An Academic Advisory Council of prominent educators will supervise the curriculum of the college. The college also promises to keep tuition and fees as low as possible.”

A quality education, high standards, vetted curriculum, at a reasonable cost. That’s been the core syllabus at ICCI for the past 45 years. We believe that the recent doubling-down on quality, standards and discipline, led by ICCI President Dr. David Marshall, will propel the institution, and more importantly its future alumni, to greater success in the years to come.

Congratulations to ICCI for achieving this important milestone. Here’s to another 45.