The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. 06 December 2017. The University of the West Indies (The UWI) community is shocked and saddened by the passing of Mr. Lowell Hawthorne, OD, CD. Since 2011, Mr. Hawthorne served as Director/Chairman of the American Foundation for The University of the West Indies (AFUWI). This foundation, based in New York, has been the principal link between The UWI and partners in the United States, including alumni, the Caribbean community, and business interests.
Extending his condolences, Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles said, “This sad and painful development has sent emotional shivers down the souls of many friends and colleagues who will now surround his grieving family with the love and affection he has shown. Lowell was loved by all of us whose blessing it was to work and socialise with him. His persistent warmth as an accessible person transcended his family and personal relations. His dedication to the cause of The University of the West Indies, for example, was a hallmark of his social commitment to others. As Chairman of the Board of the University’s North American foundation, and as a generous benefactor for youth empowerment through education, his impact was deep and far reaching. The University community is saddened by this enormous loss of friendship and concern for development of Caribbean people, both at home and in the diaspora. We offer our love and condolences to his beloved wife and family. May his soul rest in peace.”
Mr. Hawthorne was President and CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill—a family-owned manufacturer, distributor, and franchisor of Caribbean-inspired cuisine. He was well-regarded, particularly for his long-standing commitment to supporting education through service, mentorship and the sponsorship of scholarships to The UWI and several other institutions. For this he was recognised as one of the AFUWI’s “Caribbean Luminaries” in 2009 and received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from The UWI in 2012. In a 2011-2012 edition of the University’s Pelican magazine, Mr. Hawthorne, described as upbeat and committed, shared his vision, “to see the foundation accomplish its goal of securing the resources required to assist deserving students who have earned the right to make an indelibly positive mark on society.”
The success of Mr. Hawthorne’s Golden Krust chain has been chronicled widely in regional and international media and he was honoured with several prestigious awards from notable US and Caribbean organisations. In addition to recognition for his entrepreneurial prowess, Mr. Hawthorne was bestowed many accolades for his philanthropic work. He is credited with granting hundreds of scholarships to aspiring students both in the United States and Jamaica. In 2005, Mr. Hawthorne received one of Jamaica’s highest national honours, the Order of Distinction; and later, in 2014, the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander, for service to Commerce and Community Development.