“There is more joy in giving than there is in receiving.” This was the sentiment shared by a former head girl of Savanna-la-mar High School, Christal-Ann Thompson-Richards, after she presented Northern Caribbean University (NCU) alumni, Dr. and Mrs. Byron Robinson with an original art piece. This presentation occurred during the evening session of Homecoming Weekend 2011 at the NCU gymnatorium in Mandeville. The art piece, Pagoda, named after the yellow pagoda, was done using Acrylic on Canvas, The Biological Sciences major, who currently holds an Associate of Arts degree in Mass Communication, uses her artistic skills as a hobby in order to share her passion, and in this case, gratitude.
“This particular piece was initially for sale, but after receiving the Byron Robinson scholarship, I knew that a thank you letter was not sufficient, hence, this presentation to the Byron Robinson Foundation,” she posited. She continued, “I knew prior to the event that the Robinsons like art, so I decided to present them with this, the only flower piece that I have in my collection.”
Dr. Byron Robinson in expressing gratitude for the gift explained, “The foundation was set up to assist in the growth of our alma mater, NCU, and the many lives she has impacted. We are grateful for this gift, and for Christal-Ann to give us this piece has made an indelible impression on our lives.”
Mrs. Thompson-Richards’ early exposure to the visual arts world came through the insistence of the late Gerald Wray, who was instrumental in the birth of the Art Department at NCU. She has participated in art exhibitions in Manchester and St. James, as well as having some of her pieces on display in the College of Humanities, Behavioural and Social Sciences, and the Communication Studies Department.
Art is a passion for the Westmoreland native, who prides herself in painting, drawing, listening to music, and writing stories and poetry. The Bethel Town Seventh-day Adventist church member excitedly shared, “Whenever a person gets something, the onus is on the recipient to say thank you, as this gratitude goes a far way in showing appreciation.”
“The Byron Robinson Foundation has given a lot to NCU and it was an absolute pleasure and delight to give back just a token of what we as students have received from these gracious people,” she continued. “I know that some students may feel inadequate because they were not able to present the Foundation with any tangible tokens, but the Foundation gave me and other students of their gifts, so I thought it prudent to give back to them of my gift and passion.”
The Byron Robinson Foundation has been a major donor to the University for many years with its most visible gift being the erection of the Robinson Hall, location on the NCU main campus in Mandeville. NCU celebrated its annual Homecoming Weekend on the final weekend in November. The theme for 2011 was, The Tie that Binds and Frees for Service. Mrs. Susan Long-Gordon is currently the director of Alumni Relations, the Office that has direct purview of the Homecoming activities. The Alumni Office is committed to fostering, improving and nurturing the quality of the relationship that links the university to its alumni; this with a view to increasing lasting and mutually beneficial connections.