Front row from left Carol Sue Bodden-Ryan, Gale Scott-Connolly, Yvette Jackson-Dilbert, Donna Wheeler Back row from left Eloise Parchman-Reid, Dr.Milton Wheeler, Trevor Ebanks.
By Simone Tatum
Cayman Islands students who attended the William Carey College (now William Carey University, WCU) in Hattiesburg, Mississippi braved the rainy weather on November 6-8th to celebrate their reunion in Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman.
The William Carey College (now a University) is a private christian school with campuses in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Gulport, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana. It has a student population of over 3,000 offering undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Cayman Brac in particular has had a special relationship with WCU for the past 37 years when the first student enrolled into the school. Since then 12 students have graduated from the College with degrees in accounting, business administration, education, nursing, and communication. It is interesting to note that a total of 16 Caymanians had attended the College but only 12 graduated. The others completed their degrees elsewhere.
Special Guests visiting from the University were Professor of History for 46 years, Dr Milton Wheeler and his wife Donna, who has also worked for WCU for 40 years in various capacities and currently serves as alumni director, a position she has held for the past 15 years. The couple was a favourite of the former students from the Cayman Islands, as they always exhibited exemplary Christian character and consistently demonstrated their love and appreciation for international students.
The couple visited the Brac first where most of the alumni originated. They were hosted at The Cayman Breakers Condominiums and toured the islands historical sites, the caves, and the Faith Hospital with former college students. Due to weather conditions the group was unable to take a trip to Little Cayman (which was one of the planned events). On Friday, 13 November the alumni enjoyed a dinner and general social with the couple at Bucky’s Restaurant. The couple then travelled to Grand Cayman on Sunday, 8 November, where a dinner was held at the Grand Old House for the former students now residing there. This event was hosted by alumni Naul Bodden and his wife Thora. A fun time was had by all reminiscing on experiences while at college and reflecting on the wonderful christian influence the college had on their lives which prepared them significantly for life outside of the College and in particular their professional careers, Carol Sue Bodden-Ryan explained. “These graduates have contributed significantly to the development of these islands and in particular, Cayman Brac,” she continued.
Another special past student attending the reunion was Dr Randy Von Kanel, from the state of Mississippi, who is well known in the Cayman Islands, having served first as a Journeyman and later as a pastor at the First Baptist Church. He has recently returned and is currently serving as Pastor of the Cayman Islands Baptist Church in Savannah, Grand Cayman.
The Cayman Islands’ alumni of the William Carey College are Naul Bodden, Eloise Reid, Trevor Ebanks, Carol Sue Ryan, Dr. Martha Kay Bodden-Williams, Gale Connolly, Yvette Dilbert, Dana Scott, Doyle Scott, Paulette Connolly-Bailey, Novlette Gordon-Ebanks. Other students from the Cayman Islands who attended WCC were Kendal Ryan, David Bodden, Kathleen Crowley, Juline Porter-Black.
This was the first Overseas College reunion held on the Brac.