Steve McField has received an honorary doctorate from the University College of the Cayman Islands for his contributions to the fields of law, history, politics, public education and nation building.
Mr. McField was presented the award by university president Roy Bodden during UCCI’s commencement ceremony on Nov. 3.
Listing Mr. McField’s many accomplishments and services, UCCI social sciences chairman and director of research and publications Livingston Smith described Mr. McField as, “an individual who, in the course of his life, has learned how to turn vicissitudes into persistence and obstacles and potential downfalls into triumphs.”
Mr. Smith said Mr. McField received his early education at various schools, including the Seventh-day Adventist School on Fort Street. George Town, but his desire to attend college was set back when his parents could not afford to send him abroad to study.
This did not keep him down, and his yearning for education was inspired further when he met Leila McTaggart Ross Shire, the author of the Cayman National Song. She mentored the budding scholar, introducing him to some of the giants of literature.
Like most Caymanians of the day, Mr. McField went to sea in 1955 to earn money to further his education.
With his meager savings, he was able to attend the New York School of Dental Technology, where he earned a diploma. In 1967, he sat the Canadian National Board Examination for Dental Technicians and he became a dental technician in Canada.
In 1968, he attended Vancouver City College and then the University of British Columbia, graduating with honors in history and political science. He later attended the University of British Columbia Law School before transferring to the University of the West Indies, where he graduated with honors.
In Vancouver, he was a member of the Vancouver Council of Christians and Jews. He was also a member of the Vancouver Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and served as the chairman. Within that organization he went to work on the campaigns of the late Emory Barnes and Rosemary Brown, the first black politicians to be elected to the British Columbia legislature.
While a student at the University of British Columbia, Mr. McField wrote a letter to the U.N. Decolonization Committee. His letter was later turned into a petition that circulated in the United Nations.
In 1974, he served as clerk of the courts in the Cayman Islands Judicial Department, and was called to the Bar at the Honorable Society of Lincoln’s Inn in London in 1977. He was elected vice president of the Student Union.
Mr. McField also served as Crown council in the Legal Department of the Cayman islands.
In 1979, Mr. McField established his own law firm.
He was a founding member of the Caymanian Bar Association in 1988 and served as vice president, president and Bar Council member. He was awarded the Bar Council’s award of “Man for all Seasons” for leading the Cayman Bar Association. He is also a member of the International Bar Association.
He has served the Cayman Islands on the Housing Development Board, Air Transport Licensing Board, Cayman Islands Airports Authority Board and National Roads Authority Board.
He has written two books: “The History of Family Land in the Cayman Islands” and “The Cayman Islands: The Ideal Caribbean Financial Centre.”
In 1991-1992, Mr. McField was one of the authors of a draft of the Cayman Constitution, on behalf of the Cayman Bar Association.
In 2003, the Quincentennial Committee awarded him for his contributions to Cayman society, and in January 2011 was awarded the Cayman Medal of Honour Commander Class during National Heroes Day.
“Today, hardly retired, Mr. McField continues to be a historical, constitutional, cultural and political commentator on television, radio and the print media in the Cayman Islands,” said Mr. Smith.