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It is with deep regret that the university learned of the passing of Professor Emeritus Gladstone Mills.

Professor Mills embodied optimism for the Jamaica that propelled him to become one of the nation’s supreme nation builders. From outstanding civil servant he advanced to a full blooded academic activism. And in both spheres he was demonstrably a dedicated professional, registered a career of classic distinction, and was instinctively at home with the levers of administration and leadership.

Professor Mills’ learning and diligence were legendary and reflected a mixture of originality and expertise that made his contributions to the UWI and the region unique. As Director of Training and late Professor, Head of the Department of Government and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, he was instrumental in initiating, building and modernizing the region’s Public Administration infrastructure. By way of teaching and research, sound advice and practical example he helped to shape and reshape core concepts and the institutional culture of our Public Administration into the developmental instrument it has become - as discipline and practice. So remarkable has that contribution been that his retirement left an open wound in the body politic of that discipline. Our best internal efforts have yet to completely heal that wound.

He was, moreover, a good citizen of the university community and a most articulate and visible advocate of reform of the institution. Additionally, he brought to the institution refreshing discourse and demonstration of enlightenment values – civility, collegiality, granite-like integrity and thorough skepticism of received wisdom. He was also an authoritative champion of the University’s initial “West Indianizing” and outreach thrusts, the latter now regarded as one of the centres of gravity of its modernizing mission. This career of distinction left a legacy of Prime Ministers and Ministers, top and middle range administrators who now man the region’s public and private sectors, University Professors, and an enduring vision and model of excellence.

The frame of reference of this energetic institution builder was, however, far from being confined to the worlds of academic and scholarly discourse. This practical man also came to the challenges of public service with absolute devotion, fairness and equity. He was also recognizable for the judicious authority he brought to Commissions of Enquiry on subjects ranging from Administrative Reform, the Sugar Industry and the Local Government system. His recommendations, all implementable, read like judgments from the senior bench. But perhaps the real benchmark of his public service is evident in his leadership of the Electoral Advisory Committee. To that enterprise he successfully brought the full range of his creative ideas, adroit diplomacy in handling a quintessentially contentious political process, which would not work without strong and authoritative leadership as well as devotion to balance and fairness.

Cricket, and West Indies cricket in particular, was his passion. He was a good servant of the game at significant levels as player, administrator and analyst.

In all these episodes and in his personal life Professor Mills inspired loyalty, affection and trust from his own circle and beyond. He gave no comfort to fundamentalists. The courteous Professor of diverse talents spoke his own words. He left it to others to raise their voices. And he vested the concept of voluntarism with real meaning. Beyond all that he was absolutely well-connected and faithful to his family under all circumstances.

For the excellence of his all-round contributions, he harvested much international recognition and numerous academic awards, high national honours, and worldwide respect. To say the least, the whole university, and especially its Department of Government on the Mona campus, is deeply saddened by the passing of Emeritus Professor Mills, one of our most valued members, who had served for more than thirty years.

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