The University of the West Indies (The UWI) joins the Board and staff of UWI Press in mourning the passing of UWI Press’ General Manager, Dr Joseph B. Powell who died on April 25, 2021.
Dr Powell led The UWI Press for the past four and a half years, having joined The UWI in September 2016. He brought more than two decades of experience in scholarly publishing to the role. In an outpouring of tributes from his UWI Press team, he is remembered by colleagues for his professionalism, kindness and genuine concern for members of staff and their families.
Expressing his personal sympathy on Dr Powell’s passing, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, described him as a “a gentleman, scholar and exemplary leader”. “We had the privilege of his dedication and love for literature and academia for a short time, but his impact was profound. I send blessings and empowerment during this period of loss to his love ones.”
In tribute, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Affairs and Principal of The UWI Open Campus, Dr Luz Longsworth, who is also Chair of the UWI Press Board stated, “Dr Powell led with enthusiasm and vision as he worked assiduously with the staff and Board to ensure that the UWI Press maintained and grew its reputation for excellence in publishing award winning content. He must also be recognised for having the foresight to lead the digital transformation of the Press which has allowed us to survive the current disruptions caused by COVID-19. Members of the Board will always treasure Dr Powell’s dedication to The UWI, his love for all things Caribbean and his deep commitment to showcasing the scholarly work emanating from The UWI and the region at large”, she said.
Dr Powell was a student and scholar of the Caribbean with a career in scholarly publishing that spanned over 25 years. He held a BSc in Sociology from the College of Charleston, an MA in Anthropology and a PhD in Geography and Anthropology from Louisiana State University. Prior to his appointment at The UWI, he served as Senior Acquisitions Editor at the University of Alabama Press, and as Acquisitions Editor at Louisiana State University Press. During his time at The UWI, he worked towards his vision
of increasing The UWI Press’ presence and visibility in the Association of American University Presses (AAUP), and to acquire more North American-based scholarship on the Caribbean, particularly work by Caribbean diaspora scholars.
The UWI community extends deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Dr Joseph B. Powell on his passing. He will be missed dearly.