Feb. 4, 1933-
Political Scientist who was the first alumnus of the UWI to become vice chancellor. Professor Nettleford was the epitome of a true statesman and has shaped the cultural and intellectual landscape of Jamaica as well as the wider Caribbean as a writer, dancer and trade unionist.In his work, he has sought to emphasize the importance of cultural identity and has done much to persuade Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean of the central place that culture ought to take.
Through dance, Professor Nettleford tried to preserve Jamaica’s cultural heritage and in 1962 co-founded the National Dance Theatre Company to extend his cultural vision. The dance company has gained recognition for its well established repertoire of ballets, dance dramas among others. Central to the success of the National Dance Theatre Company has been the contributions of renowned choreographer – Professor Rex Nettleford. Much of Professor Rex Nettleford’s choreographed pieces are an expression of African traditions which survived colonialism and slavery. Another of Professor Nettleford’s efforts to shape postcolonial culture is his involvement with trade unionism. He forwarded the growth of trade unionism in the region. Through his instrumentality the trade union institute was conceptualized and later became a model institute for the Caribbean and the rest of the world.