|The H. Lavity Stoutt Community College was established in 1990 as the British Virgin Islands Community College under the College Act of that year. The institution was subsequently renamed in honour of the founding chairman of the College's Board of Governors, the late Chief Minister, Hon. H. Lavity Stoutt. In fact, the concept of the British Virgin Islands Community College had been developed as far back as 1982 by the founding Chairman. With a change in Government in 1983, the idea of a community college was put on hold, resurfacing in 1986.|
|On this site on November 1989 ground was broken for the B.V.I Community College by the Hon. H. Lavity Stoutt, Chief Minister of the B.V.I and founding Chairman B.V.I Community College|
A Focus Committee, chaired by the late Dr. Norwell Harrigan, was organised to hold discussions with the general public and to obtain feedback on the viability of an institution of tertiary education for the British Virgin Islands. After meeting with various community groups, the Focus Committee submitted its report and recommendations to the British Virgin Islands Government.
In January 1989, the College Project Office was opened and staffed by Mrs. Eileene Parsons, who later became Registrar/Bursar of the College. Dr. Nolen Ellison, President of Cuyahoga Community College, in consultation with Dr. Janet Smith, also of Cuyahoga, used the report of the Focus Committee as a critical component of the resource material necessary to get the College Project off the ground. On recommendation of Dr. Smith and Dr. Ellison, four Task Forces were instituted to begin the preliminary planning stages of the College.
A Board of Governors was established and held its inaugural meeting on March 10, 1989. At that meeting an Executive Committee was appointed. This Executive Committee was authorised to operate on behalf of the Board between Board Meetings, which would be held twice a year. In June 1989, Dr. John Wallace of Vermont was appointed to provide guidance to the early operations of the College. Dr. Theodore Provo was appointed President in November 1989. By the end of 1989, a building was rented for conducting classes, part-time instructors were appointed, and the College's first courses were approved. Although it was hoped that classes would have commenced in September 1989, the devastation suffered by the Territory as a result of Hurricane Hugo put all plans on hold.
The H. Lavity Stoutt Community College held its opening ceremony on January 14, 1990, and classes commenced on January 15 with 135 students enrolled in 19 courses taught by active and retired teachers and civil servants, as well as persons from the private sector.
The College originally was on the quarter system for credit earning purposes. In 1990, however, at the November meeting of the Board of Governors, a decision was taken to adopt a semester of 15 weeks, with 15 contact hours being equivalent to one credit.
Thus, any course of 45 contact hours would be eligible for three credits. This brought the College more in line with what was beginning to happen in Caribbean institutions.
Dr. Charles Wheatley succeeded Dr. Theodore Provo as President in February 1991. Dr. Wheatley brought a wealth of educational experience and educational contacts from the Caribbean and overseas to the position. Under this new leadership, the institution and its systems and policies were brought more in line with other colleges in the Caribbean, the United States and Canada. During this period, in keeping with a strategy of filling vacancies on a phased and "as-needed" basis, the administration of the College was further strengthened by the appointment of a Vice President, an Associate Vice President, a Dean of Academic Affairs, a Bursar, and an Officer for Development and External Affairs. Full-time faculty appointments were made in the areas of Language Studies, Business Studies, Computer Studies, Natural Sciences, and Mathematics. Course offerings were not only increased, but were now organized in programmes that led to certification.
With its dedication on August 15, 1993, the College moved into a new three-storey facility at its Paraquita Bay Campus. This first campus building encompassed some 10,000 square feet and had 15 classrooms and laboratories on the upper floors, and 4,700 square feet for administrative offices on the ground floor.
The College continues to exhibit steady growth. Whereas it began its operations in 1990 with 135 students, enrollment during the 1992-93 academic year stood at over 300, progressed to 500 during the 1995-96 year, and exceeded 650 during the 1998-99 academic year. In the more recent years, it has exceeded 1,000.
New programmes continue to come on stream, consonant with the College's mission and growth, with the Virgin Islands Studies Programme being one of the most outstanding. This is indeed an extraordinary chapter in the history of education in the British Virgin Islands; and we invite your participation in the endeavour.