Former Morehouse President – Dr. Robert Franklin, Jr. – to Deliver Keynote Address 

The 60th Anniversary Charter Day program for the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) promises to be enjoyable and enlightening.    

To celebrate six decades of fulfilling UVI’s mission, Charter Day will include a keynote address by Dr. Robert Franklin in addition to announcing plans to honor the late Dr. Athniel C. “Addie” Ottley and UVI Board Trustee Dr. Yvonne E. L. Thraen.    

A renowned scholar, President Emeritus of Morehouse College and esteemed theologian, Dr. Franklin will address the profound question of “Moral Leadership and the History and Role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).” At a time when HBCUs are receiving national attention and support from various sectors of society, the theme of Dr. Franklin's remarks builds on his most recent book, “Moral Leadership: Integrity, Courage, Imagination.”    

“Although the University is among the youngest of the nation’s HBCUs, we have established and continue to strengthen UVI’s reputation as an institution committed to the furtherance of important and timely social discussions such as moral leadership,” said UVI President Dr. David Hall. Anyone who attended or knows about HBCUs will want to be a part of this exciting opportunity to hear from one of our nation’s foremost thinkers and leaders, who worked with President Bill Clinton on his ‘One America’ Initiative, with President George W. Bush on his Faith Based Advisory Committee, and on President Barack Obama’s ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ Initiative.”   

As the Virgin Islands community continues to mourn the passing of native son and beloved legend Addie Ottley, UVI will honor the respected icon’s remarkable contributions and community service and will share its plans to honor the legacy of Dr. Ottley – who served the Territory not only as a senator and former Lieutenant Governor but also through a long-lasting broadcast career – through various academic and service initiatives. In recognition of his lifelong service to the community, UVI awarded Dr. Ottley an honorary doctorate degree in 2018. 

“Dr. Ottley was a consummate Virgin Islander who loved and served the people of this Territory through his actions as well as his words. His pride and passion were endless, and we hope the Virgin Islands community will come out to join us in honoring Addie and learn about our exciting plans. If you loved Addie and all that he stood for, you will leave knowing that the spirit of this great man is alive and will remain so at UVI and in the Territory for years to come,” said Dr. Hall.  

“No celebration of UVI’s 60th anniversary of its founding would be complete without recognizing the often-unsung heroes who, at significant personal sacrifice, give of themselves through service on the University’s governing board. As a direct beneficiary of the incredible knowledge, support and insight of these remarkable men and women, it will be bittersweet to honor one of our longest-serving Trustees, Dr. Yvonne Thraen, as she transitions to the status of Trustee Emerita after more than 25 years of service to UVI,” stated President Hall.  

Elected and confirmed to the UVI Board of Trustees in 1996, Dr. Thraen served during the administrations of three University presidents. In addition to her service on the Academic, Research and Student Affairs Committee, Building and Grounds Committee and Governance Committee, among others, Dr. Thraen was a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees for 24 years. 

The University of the Virgin Islands invites the Virgin Islands community to join UVI in commemorating its milestone diamond anniversary. UVI’s Charter Day Ceremony will take place on March 31, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Administration and Conference Center Building on the Orville E. Kean Campus on St. Thomas.  Dion Parson and Friends will provide musical entertainment.          

Other events taking place during the year-long observance of UVI’s diamond anniversary include the unveiling of a new childcare center, a new dance studio, and the official opening of the Medical Simulation Center on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix. The University will also host an online edition of Afternoon on the Green and plans to launch a newly designed website.      

UVI’s Charter Day Ceremony will be live streamed for those unable to attend in  person. To view the event remotely, visit or    

For more information, contact