The University of the Virgin Islands celebrated the naming of its campus on St. Croix in honor of the late Albert A. Sheen, Sr., with a ceremony on Thursday, March 24.
Sheen was a prominent Virgin Islands judge, attorney, legislator, businessman and former instructor at UVI on St. Croix. The event was attended by family members, including Sheen's widow, J'Ada Finch-Sheen, and children, members of the V.I. court, UVI administrators and Chairman of the UVI Board of Trustees Alexander Moorhead. Sheen's brother-in-law, District Court Judge Raymond Finch, shared personal stories and remembrances.
"This was an important moment in the life of the University and especially the St. Croix campus," UVI President Dr. David Hall said. "It was a personal honor for me," added Dr. Hall, who is a lawyer himself, "to have the campus named after a member of the legal profession. He (Sheen) symbolized the fact that lawyers should be individuals whom the community respects because of the contribution they make to the community. And clearly, from all that I have heard and read, Albert A. Sheen Sr. was that type of lawyer."
The honor was awarded by the Virgin Islands Legislature in 1996. The bill was sponsored by then Senator Adelbert Bryan and co-sponsored by former Lieutenant Governor and then Senator Luz James, both of whom attended Thursday's ceremony. The legislation noted that Sheen "will be remembered for his charitable largesse, his kind heart, his entrepreneurial spirit, his zest for life, his determination to contemplate possibility, and for his lifelong support and encouragement of young Virgin Islanders to 'stay on course' with their plans for educational advancement while aiming high to achieve their goals."
Born in 1942, Sheen attended school in Christiansted, graduating from Christiansted High School in 1960. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Lincoln University, in Pennsylvania, and studied law at Howard University School of Law, graduating in 1968. He opened a law firm with Winston Hodge, which later became the Hodge, Sheen, Finch and Ross Law Firm. Sheen died in 1993. At the time of his death, he was general counsel for the Virgin Islands Telephone Corporation.
Sheen served in the V.I. Legislature in the early 1970s, where he successfully sponsored a bill making the U.S. Virgin Islands one of the first no-fault divorce jurisdictions in the nation. He also championed the right of children of persons not born in the U.S. Virgin Islands to be educated in the public schools of the Virgin Islands, regardless of the immigration status of their parents. He was later appointed a federal bankruptcy judge.