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Dr. Ronald Harrigan and the Development of Education in the Danish West Indies

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During the past 3 weeks in the edition of "Centennial Countdown" in the Virgin Islands Daily News, Dr. Ronald Harrigan's article was published about the Virgin Islands' education foundation that was laid long before Transfer Day. It was a 3-part series on the development of a system of education for the free & enslaved population in the then-Danish West Indies, leading to a literate population by the time emancipation in 1848 & the islands' transfer of March 31, 1917.

Dr. Harrigan has had a one-of-a-kind experience at UVI starting as a student, then an entry- level employee, & rising through the ranks in administration & academia. Now retired, after working at UVI for 38 years, Dr. H. has left an impact on UVI.

Dr. H. joined the staff of the then-College of the Virgin Islands in 1972, after earning a Bachelor of Arts in business administration. He was designated a junior officer trainee in a program designed to train young Virgin Islanders for leadership positions at the institution. Shortly after, he was transferred to the St. Croix campus as an assistant to the student services officer & was tasked with bringing registration, counseling, academic advising, records management, student orientation, & student activities services in line with St. Thomas. 

“It was in this position that I began to get more involved in higher education administration from an educational perspective,” said Dr. H., who before had dreams of teaching business owners how to become successful. He went on to earn a Master Degree in Education & a Doctor of Education degree. After 2 years on the St. Croix campus, Dr. H. transferred back to the St. Thomas campus as a student personnel officer. In this first supervisory position he honed skills which eventually led him to the top Student Affairs position, Vice President for Student Life & Development.