Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal. 07/11/17 - The UWI Open Campus mourns the loss of Ms Edith Bellot, who passed away on Tuesday October 31, 2017 in St Kitts. Edith Bellot served as Resident Tutor in Dominica for 21 years from1984 to her retirement in 2005, anchoring the School’s evolution from the Extra Mural Department to School of Continuing Studies (SCS) and into the era of technologically enabled distance learning through the UWI Distance Education Centre (UWIDEC).
Ms Bellot’s passion for ensuring that students in Dominica and other parts of the Eastern Caribbean were included in the education revolution led by The University of the West Indies is legendary. One colleague, Vilma McLenan recalls Edith driving the UWIDEC team all over Dominica to meet students “where they lived” and to understand the challenges they faced in accessing face to face education. Dr. Luz Longsworth, Principal of the Open Campus, in paying tribute to Ms Bellot stated that “Edith Bellot helped to lay the foundation for the move to online, anywhere, anytime education which transformed the UWIDEC and the SCS into The UWI Open Campus. Her energy, her passion and focus on taking the University to the people, are values that have become embedded into the ethos of The UWI Open Campus. We are eternally grateful to her for her service”.
Former Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Emeritus Lawrence Carrington, in his tribute to Ms Bellot who served under his leadership of the SCS, remembers her as “bold, outspoken and feisty. Her elegance and style never inhibited her startling laughter. She was practical and earthy yet angelic when she sang. She was philanthropic without fanfare and caring to the point of self-denial. A great soul and a good friend.” Her colleague Resident Tutors Beverley Steele (Grenada), Adrian Fraser (St Vincent and the Grenadines), Sir Howard Fergus (Montserrat) and Dr Joseph Palacio (Belize), all saluted Ms. Bellot for her willingness to give advice and wise counsel not only to her students, but to her colleagues within and beyond The University of the West Indies. She is described as lighting up every space she occupied and livening up every meeting with her frankness, peppered by a sharp wit and sense of humour.
We celebrate Ms Bellot’s dedication to building a strong presence of The University of the West Indies in the region, her care and concern for the students’ welfare in Dominica, as well as in St Kitts and Nevis where she acted as Resident Tutor on several occasions. She was part of the team of “intellectual guerrillas”, as dubbed by the late Vice Chancellor Professor the Hon Rex Nettleford, who helped to lay a robust foundation for the creation of wider access to The UWI, a legacy upon which we continue to build. We pay tribute to an outstanding Caribbean woman who, as Dr Fancis Severin, Director of the Open Campus Country Sites observes, “was never one who embraced awards or tributes, perhaps tragically. Her philosophy was that she could not honestly accept awards for doing her legitimate work, which included her contributions to humanity.” It is this humility and humanity that defined Edith Bellot and elicited the love and appreciation that so many have expressed since her passing last week.
The University of the West Indies Open Campus offers our sincere condolences to her only child Kathleen and all her family and friends on the loss of this strong but gentle woman of substance. We pray that they find comfort in the knowledge of how much she was loved, admired and appreciated by her friends and colleagues in the UWI and beyond. May she Rest In Peace.