KINGSTON — President of the University of Technology (UTech), Professor Errol Morrison, says that student athletes who train with the institution’s MVP Track and Field Club will be given scholarships equivalent to 50 per cent of their tuition fees.
He noted that the scholarships, which start next semester, will be offered “right across the board”, irrespective of the type of programme the student is pursuing. The MVP Track and Field Club is based at the UTech campus in Kingston.
Professor Morrison was speaking at a function at UTech on Thursday (October 6), to update the public on its “Road to Olympic Glory” campaign.
The scholarships form part of the campaign launched earlier this year, which is geared at raising US$10 million to support the university’s development, and to preserve its legacy in track and field, leading up to the 2012 Olympics. The funds are expected to boost UTech’s capacity to provide scholarships, and to support the development of its sports programme and other areas.
The UTech President said that the institution has now committed to improving the backfield, where its athletes train, at a cost of $21 million.
“Sports is huge and we want to get our action as a part of this….we (decided) to take an aspect of what we call the endowment fund – the bringing together of development of the institution to take sports as the leading parameter – and build our development around sports, at least taking us into London 2012 (Olympics),” he said.
“We are looking at sports as a business, sports as an occupation, sports as a career – they are all aspects of sports that we can exploit and make this institution grow, by the fact that it is pioneering much of this area,” he added.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, lauded the vision and innovative spirit of UTech, noting that, as an institution, “it has really shown that it is passionate about all the endeavours that it participates in."
“UTech is playing a major role in building professionalism in the sports industry, and supporting athletes to hone their skills and manage their personal and business development,” she said.
She also congratulated UTech on the establishment of the Caribbean School of Sports Science which, she said, has been a tremendous achievement “and a worthy investment in the advancement of Jamaican and Caribbean sports.”
MVP Track and Field Club athletes, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Asafa Powell, were recognized at the function.
It was announced that a special grant scholarship to benefit children – the Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce scholarship – will be offered by UTech. This will be made possible through funds raised from this year’s annual bazaar, staged by the International Proxy Parents, a charitable organisation in Jamaica.
It was also announced that Mr. Powell will be awarded the Chancellor’s Medal next month, which is usually presented to individuals who are outstanding in sports.
UTech’s Chancellor and former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga, who made the disclosure, pointed out that Asafa Powell has made his mark, despite the ups and downs in his career.
“He has made a mark that will be indelible in the history of track and field,” Mr. Seaga, noting that Mr. Powell has a long record of registering times below 10 seconds in the 100 metres, the most by any athlete participating in the event, globally.
“Because of the record, we feel that we should not let that pass without saying to Jamaica and to the world, that we honour him as a very special athlete,” Mr. Seaga said.
By Alecia Smith, JIS Reporter