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The UWI Mourns Passing of Former Professor George Nicholson

For Release Upon Receipt - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The UWI community is saddened at the passing of one of its stalwarts of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at The UWI Cave Hill Campus, Professor George Nicholson.

In expressing his condolences on behalf of The UWI, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles reflected on Professor Nicholson’s relationship with the regional institution: “George was a good friend for many decades, and stalwart of The UWI. He served on many inter-campus committees, and was critical in establishing working relationships between the medical faculty at Cave Hill, Mona and St Augustine. He was a respected regionalist who believed in the ‘One UWI’ and wanted to serve no other configuration”.

Professor Nicolson served as former Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences (then called the School of Clinical Medicine and Research) during the period 1992 to 1996. As a consultant physician at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 1979, he established and developed the first renal clinic and served as Director of the Haemodialysis Unit. He played a major role in the first living related donor transplant in the English-speaking Caribbean—treating the patient with dialysis until that patient was ready for transplant and putting together the team of surgeons, nurses and anaesthetists charged with the actual operation. He went on to become a founding member of the Barbados Kidney Association and a founding member of the Caribbean Association of Urologists and Nephrologists.

Even while he endured a long battle with cancer, Professor Nicholson continued his close association with the Faculty of Medical Sciences through his supervision of the MRCP (UK) Examinations, as Chief Invigilator for the Barbados site, until the time of his passing. Professor Nicholson was the recipient of a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to clinical practice and service in the area of Nephrology during the 50th anniversary celebrations held by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 2015.

In her personal tribute, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI Cave Hill Campus, Professor Eudine Barriteau noted Professor Nicholson’s service to the University in many capacities and underscored that in all dimensions, he distinguished himself through his scholarship and dedication.

The UWI extends deepest condolences to his wife, family and friends, andappreciation for the life of an outstanding Caribbean citizen.

Please see full tribute below from UWI Chancellor Sir George Alleyne:

George was one of my favorite people. I got to know him very well professionally and personally while he was staff member of the Department of Medicine when I was Professor of Medicine. Even after I left Mona, we would renew our friendship on the occasions we met and would reminisce over the pleasant days we spent together. One could not have wished for a more dedicated and loyal staff member and colleague. I recall my early meeting with him, when he would speak of his medical training in the UK, of his brother who was also a physician, and his prowess as an oarsman. I had my doubts about the last, but was never able to test it. He established the renal dialysis unit at the University Hospital and it was always a pleasure to see the manner often paternal or avuncular with which he looked after his patients. I recall the enthusiasm with which he pursued his research on some aspects of renal function in sickle cell anemia and rejoiced with him when he was awarded his doctorate for his excellent thesis on the subject.

Medicine was his love, but nephrology was his passion and he was never apologetic about trying to persuade several Caribbean governments that renal dialysis was within their reach. He left Mona to go to Barbados to continue the same dedication to teaching, clinical practice with emphasis on nephrology. I will always recall the precision and directness with which he spoke and would note with appreciation that he carried this over into everything he did, -as a public orator, in his relation with his colleagues and his patients and students. His legacy will be cemented in the students he taught, the prominence of clinical nephrology in academic and non-academic circles and the numerous individuals whom he helped and supported in one way or another. His legacy will be one of a genuinely good doctor.

George Alleyne

August 5, 2016


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