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Albert A. Sheen Sr.

Albert Augustus Sheen was born on July 11, 1942 in Christiansted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands to Mary Lillian Gilbert Sheen and Charles Lionel Sheen, being the middle of three sons. He attended the public schools in Christiansted, graduating from the Christiansted High School (now the Juanita Gardine Elementary School) receiving his B.A from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 1964. It was there that he became a proud member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

After working with the Department of Social Welfare for a short period of time, he decided to fulfill his life time ambition of becoming a lawyer. He returned to law school at Howard University School of Law and obtained his LLB degree in 1968.

The untimely death of his father when he was only five years old forced him into a role that he embraced and fostered throughout his life - that of caregiver and family rock. He loved being the person in and out of the family that everyone relied on and came to for counsel and direction. He began working at an early age, accompanying and assisting his mother in whatever she was doing. Although she was a single mom with three sons, Albert's mother insisted on "exposing" him and his brother to the "finer things in life" and made them select an instrument to learn to play. He selected the clarinet and squeaky notes and all, played his clarinet with Mr. Thurland's Community Band until he graduated from high school.

In 1969, after graduating from Law School, he was offered and accepted a job with the Department of Housing in New York City. However, his desire to return home prompted him to accept the invitation of Winston Hodge to begin working at the law office of John James, where Winston also worked. Soon after, he and Winston opened the Law Firm of Hodge and Sheen in Christiansted. They remained partners, brothers and friends until his death in 1993. That firm expanded to become Hodge, Sheen, Finch and Ross and produced three judges, two federal and two territorial, two senators and a lieutenant governor.

Attorney Sheen was elected twice to the Legislature of the Virgin Islands and was the sponsor of the bill enacted into law that made the U.S. Virgin Islands one of the first no-fault divorce jurisdictions under the American flag. He opted not to seek re-election after his second term, deciding that the judicial system was where he could more efficiently effectuate social change.

One of the causes he championed as a lawyer was 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. His position was that they were so entitled under the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. He filed suit in the District Court of the Virgin Islands on their behalf. After presenting what was one of his most brilliant arguments in court, the District Court of the Virgin Islands agreed with his position and granted all children residing in the U.S. Virgin Island the right to a public school education He was later appointed as a federal bankruptcy judge. At the time of his death, he was general counsel for the Virgin Islands Telephone Corporation.

In a regular session of the Virgin Islands Legislature, Act No. 6121 sponsored by then Senator Adelbert Bryan, was approved on September 23, 1996. The bill proposed to honor and commend Albert A. Sheen, Sr. for his dedication and outstanding commitment to the Virgin Islands and to name the St. Croix campus of the University of the Virgin Islands "The Albert A. Sheen, Sr. Campus of the University of the Virgin Islands." The St. Croix campus held the official naming ceremony on March 24, 2011.