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Marvin E. Williams Scholarship Drive to Open With Memorial

"The Caribbean Writer" - the Literary Gem of the Caribbean - is hosting the first Annual Marvin E. Williams Scholarship Drive in honor of former editor Marvin E. Williams, a home grown Crucian scholar, poet and former professor of English on UVI's St. Croix campus.

On Friday, Nov. 19, beginning at 6 p.m., UVI invites the entire Virgin Islands community to come out to honor the memory of Marvin E. Williams who died April 7, 2010. The memorial will take place in the Great Hall of the North West Wing on the St. Croix campus, with a videoconference link to the first-floor conference room at the Administration and Conference Center on the St. Thomas campus.

Known in the community as a professor of English, an accomplished poet and scholar, Williams taught at UVI from 1992 to 2008 and served as editor of The Caribbean Writer from 2003 to 2008.

A Cornell University graduate, who attended Central High School, Williams was deeply committed to his community and felt a profound need to contribute to the social and literary development of his homeland. In addition to his three individual collections, "Ebony Field" (1976), "Dialogue at the Hearth" (1993) and "Overture to Kin" (2007), Williams also edited and compiled the seminal text, "Yellow Cedar Blooming-An Anthology of Virgin Islands Poetry" (1998). The publication provides a historical overview of writers from the entire Virgin Islands from as early as 1897.

In "Seasoning for the Mortar," he provided another groundbreaking collection of poems and stories by Virgin Islands writers who were published in "The Caribbean Writer" from Volume 1 (1987) to 15 (2001). These two impressive volumes, as well as his individual collections, are evidence of Williams' scholarship, poetic abilities and commitment to exposing other writers to both the region and beyond. This is why the present editor, Dr. Opal Palmer Adisa, saw fit to establish a scholarship to both honor and celebrate the achievements of this important local, but also internationally recognized, writer.

The program is jam packed and will prove to be educational, motivational and entertaining. A select number of UVI students will present choral readings of Marvin Williams' poems which have been selected by Dr. Adisa. There will be dancing in Williams' honor and speeches by those who knew him, including his wife, Dasil. The UVI choir will sing and other surprise guests are expected. The event location on the St. Croix campus is the Great Hall, with a videoconference link to the Administration and Conference Center on the St. Thomas campus. For the minimal cost of $10 for adults and $5 for children/students, attendees will get to participate in a historical event that speaks to the achievement of one of St. Croix's own. Middle school and high school teachers and students are urged to attend, along with the community at large.

All proceeds will go towards awarding a student with a $1,000 UVI scholarship toward tuition and books.