Although he has transformed many lives as an administrator and saved countless others as a surgeon, Professor Archibald McDonald is neither satisfied with nor distracted by the accolades and achievements bestowed on him throughout his career.
He still sees himself as a member of Jamaica’s working class, who rose from humble beginnings in rural St Andrew to a top post in UWI, the Caribbean’s most respected tertiary institution.
“I still have the same circle of friends that I relate to and socialise with. There are people who have ensured that I remain grounded...They tell me ‘Archie you are the big man now but you are still one of us’,” Prof. Archibald McDonald explained.
It’s been four years since he has held the post of Principal of the UWI, Mona.
His leadership has brought increased attention to UWI’s research from both the private and public sectors and he is credited with the commissioning of the Mona Wells which has solved significant water shortage on the campus and is saving the institution some $150 million annually. But Prof. McDonald had been making an impact in the UWI community and Jamaica long before he became Principal.
He conceptualized the state of the art Faculty of Medical Sciences Research and Teaching Complex at the Mona campus and is credited for introducing a number of academic programmes in the Medical Sciences faculty.
For all his contributions, he was awarded the prestigious Order of Jamaica (OJ) for excellence in academia and public service in 2017. Still he believes he has an even greater role to play in getting Jamaica to recognise the value of the UWI’s research, invest in it and use it for national development.
“I hope the public and in particular the leaders in private and public sector can see the research that we are doing and how it relates to Jamaica’s development and hopefully we can get more collaboration and partnerships. The UWI is doing research which is relevant to Jamaica’s development,” stressed Prof. McDonald whose own research led to the establishment of the first Accident and Emergency Department at the UHWI and in Jamaica.
It is this need to harness research for national growth that Prof. McDonald will emphasize when he delivers the annual Sue Cobb lecture on Thursday February 8 during the University’s Research Days event. During the lecture entitled “The Journey Continues” Prof McDonald will share how research at UWI elevated his career, saved the lives of many and influenced policies in Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean.
Members of the media and public are invited to hear Prof. McDonald’s personal and professional story on Thursday February 8, 5 pm at the UWI’s Assembly Hall.