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New Jamaican UWI lecturer donates annual salary to needy students

St. Lucia News Online

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Dr Rene “Zazou” Williamson

(JAMAICA OBSERVER) Recently appointed lecturer in the Department of Engineering at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus, Dr Rene “Zazou” Williamson will donate his annual salary to needy students of the institution.

Dr Williamson, a Kingston College Old Boy who has lived and worked in the United States for over 25 years, will return home to take up his appointment as lecturer on August 1.

A chemical and biomedical engineer by training, Dr Williamson, also known as Dr Z, is involved in other economic activities that allow him to be financially flexible.

Details of the rastafarian’s remuneration package from The UWI were not disclosed, but it is understood that Dr Williamson will be paid a basic salary that lecturers normally get, which is in the region of $3 million annually. Allowances would push earnings even further, but it was unclear if some of the allowances would be passed on to students too.

Dr Williamson confirmed to the Jamaica Observer that he had agreed a three-year contract with The UWI recently and is moving back to Jamaica, but declined to give details of the remuneration package.

He is also a management consultant with over 20 years experience in teaching at some of the world’s leading institutions of learning, among them New York University, Yale University and Johns Hopkins University in the United States, as well as Cambridge University in England.

The Trench Town-born scientist is executive chairman of the south St Andrew-based Shashamane Sunrise Foundation which supports schools in Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia and senior partner in Connecticut, USA-based Broad Haven Associates.

Inspired by Christina Williams, now president-elect of the Guild of Students, UWI Mona, whom he calls his ‘daughter’ and mentee, Dr Williamson, who has lectured at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, said that the long list of students not being able to pay for tuition and ultimately get deregistered, was one of his major concerns.

“The kind of talent that we have here in Jamaica is unbelievable,” Dr Williamson told the Jamaica Observer. “But many of our young people are unable to pay to learn. All they need is an opportunity, encouragement and some support.”

Father of three, Dr Williamson was educated at Cambridge University where he completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering. He later achieved his doctorate from Yale University in biomedical engineering. He also did post-doctoral studies in biomolecular imaging at New York University.

During his five years spent at Kingston College between 1987 and 1992, he was top academic performer, winning several awards at annual prize giving ceremonies and was the all-boy institution’s valedictorian at the graduation exercise in 1992.

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