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18th Annual Gala Awards

For Release Upon Receipt - Friday, January 16, 2015

American Foundation for The UWI to host 18th Annual Awards Gala

The American Foundation for The University of the West Indies (AFUWI) prepares for its 18th Annual Legacy Awards Gala on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at The Pierre in New York City. This year the foundation’s signature event which provides scholarships to UWI students, is themed “The Legacy Continues”. It will be held under the auspices of Honorary Patron, Dr. the Hon. Harry Belafonte, O.J.


Continuing its tradition of recognising notable individuals or entities which represent high levels of achievement within their respective fields of industry and enterprise, five persons will receive awards. Among them are Debra A. Sandler, Chief Health and Wellbeing Officer for Mars, Incorporated, Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International and George Willie, Managing Partner of Bert Smith & Co. who will receive the Caribbean Luminary Award; while Paxton Baker, Executive Vice President and General Manager of CENTRIC (formerly BETJ), will be presented with the Vice Chancellor’s Achievement Award.


In addition, George Gresham, President of New York City’s largest labour union, 1199SEIU, is being honoured with the 2015 American Foundation for The University of the West Indies (AFUWI) Special Award. The union stalwart, who rose through the ranks to the helm of one of the most powerful trade unions, will be presented with the prestigious award at the gala.

Mr. Gresham also serves as a Vice President of the Executive Board of Service Employees Internal Union (SEIU) with 2.1 million working members in locals throughout the nation, and co-chairs the 1199SEIU National Benefit Fund, the largest self-insured union healthcare plan in the nation, the 1199SEIU Training and Upgrading Fund, which has employer contributions and grant funding of over $150 million per year, the 1199/Employer Child Care Fund, which covers over 50,000 children of members, and the 1199SEIU Pension Fund, which has nearly $7 billion in assets.


Former New York City Mayor Hon. David Dinkins will be this year’s Honorary Dinner Chair, along with past awardees Malcolm Gladwell and Jessye Norman serving as Honorary Chairs. Kaye Foster-Cheek, former SVP, Global Human Resources Onyx Pharmaceuticals will serve as 2015 Dinner Patron.


The American Foundation for The University of the West Indies is the principal link between The University of the West Indies, and the many groups in the United States who value and support The University's work. The Foundation partners with the University Alumni, the Caribbean community in the United States, American Foundations and Corporations with Caribbean business interests or Caribbean markets to raise funds for projects, scholarships and academic programs at The UWI’s four campuses.


Tickets for the fundraising gala start at $500 and should be reserved by Friday, January 23, 2015. Further details can be sought by contacting AFUWI at 212-759-9345.  For information about making a contribution to the foundation, please visit



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