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The University Archives, The University of the West Indies

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Authorized form of name

The University Archives, The University of the West Indies

Parallel form(s) of name

  • University Archives, at Mona

Other form(s) of name



Contact area

Contact information

University Archivist (Primary contact)

John A. Aarons


Street address

The University Archives, Office of Administration, The University of the West Indies, Vice ChancelleryMona


Kingston 7


Country name


Postal code


1.876.935.8308/9 or 935.8614 or 977.6704


Description area


The establishing of the University of the West Indies was the result of the West Indian advocates who felt it was desirable to have a local institution of higher learning and the movement towards decolonization in the English-speaking Caribbean. In the 1940s, a letter was written by the British Secretary of State for the Colonies to Vice Chancellors of Universities in the United Kingdom, requesting assistance in the development of university colleges in the colonies to prepare local leaders to take over the leadership of the colonies. Subsequently a Commission on Higher Education in the Colonies was convened. The Commission recommended the founding of a university, on the condition that it was centralized, residential, and came with an endowment to cover capital and recurring cost. It was also recommended that the university should also initially prepare students for external degrees from universities of repute, and this resulted in the subsequent long-standing relationship with the University of London. The Royal Charter of the University College of the West Indies was granted in December 1948 and teaching began in Jamaica in 1949, in the Faculty of Natural Sciences. In February 1960, the Council of the University College approved the formation of a Faculty of Agriculture and merged with the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture to form the St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad. In 1963, a Liberal Arts College was established in Barbados, which later became the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies to serve students from Barbados, the Windward and the Leeward Islands. In 1962, the University College of the West Indies had its last graduation, heralding the establishment of The University of the West Indies, with a new Royal Charter and Statutes.

The University Archives had its inception in 1992 as a part of a wider University Archives and Records Management Programme (UARMP). The purpose of the University Archives is to identify, acquire, organize, preserve and make available for reference and research, university records of enduring administrative and historial value. In doing this, the Archives serves as the corporate memory of the UWI. The repository of The University Archives was officially opened by (then) Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Rex Nettleford in 1997.

Geographical and cultural context

The University of the West Indies is a regional tertiary educational institution with four campuses, namely Mona Campus in Jamaica, St Augustine Campus in Trinidad, Cave Hill Campus in Barbados and the Open Campus with 42 site locations around the English-speaking Caribbean.

Mandates/Sources of authority

Administrative structure

The University Archives is a part of the Office of Administration of the Vice Chancellery of the University of the West Indies. The Archives and Records Management Programme is headed by the University Archivist who reports to the University Registrar.

Records management and collecting policies


Location: #26 West Road (pro tempore), UWI Mona Campus, Kingston 7.


The University Archives contain a comprehensive collection of university records dating back to the first meeting of the Provisional Council of the University College of the West Indies in January 1947, and includes the following:

  • The records of the University College of the West Indies
  • Minutes, agenda and papers of the various decision-making committees of the University.
  • Reports of the Vice Chancellor to the Council of the University.
  • Reports of the Pro Vice Chancellors and Campus Principals to the Council.
  • Publications on the history of the University.
  • Faculty and Departmental Reports
  • Official publications of the university

Finding aids, guides and publications

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

August 2011




Maintenance notes