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UVI Mourns the Death of Alumnus and Student David R. Payne Jr.

The University of the Virgin Islands mourns the death of UVI alumnus and graduate student David R. Payne, Jr. Payne earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from UVI in elementary education this past May and was enrolled in UVI's Master of Arts in Education program on the St. Thomas campus. In 2011, he earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in criminal justice. Payne was killed in front of his Annas Retreat home on St. Thomas on the night of Sept. 7.

Payne was employed by the V.I. Department of Education as a teacher at the Uller F. Muller Elementary School and was awaiting a position at the Edith Williams Alternative Academy. While pursuing undergraduate studies, he completed his student teaching assignment at the Yvonne E. Milliner-Bowsky Elementary School.

UVI President Dr. David Hall lamented the passing of such a bright and promising young man. "David's loss comes as a tremendous shock to the members of the University community. He was a wonderful person to have at UVI, and his commitment to pursuing his academic dreams will always be remembered," Dr. Hall said. He reminisced that Payne was a passionate learner who was thrilled about his academic achievements. "I remember how excited he was when he received his degree in May. He came across the stage with such a bright smile and received such a reception from the crowd that it made all of us proud," Dr. Hall said. "I was honored to shake his hand and award him his degree."

Dr. Hall called on the Virgin Islands community to unite to put an end to the senseless violence in the Territory. "I pray that David's life and his death will inspire all of us to do whatever we can to make our communities a place that respects and values all lives."

On behalf of UVI, Dr. Hall expressed his deepest condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of David R. Payne Jr., as he is laid to rest today.