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UB Imprint Vol 64: The University of Belize hosts Naming Ceremony in honor of the late Gian Gandhi, S.C.
The University of Belize (UB) held a Naming Ceremony for its Faculty of Management and Social Science (FMSS) Building at its Belize City Campus on Friday, October 25th, 2019. University Leadership, Faculty, staff, government officials, students, community members and family members attended this historic ceremony to celebrate the legacy of Belize’s former and late Solicitor General and Senior Crown Counsel, Mr. Gian Chand Gandhi, who made a significant financial contribution to the University to be placed in its endowment fund.
Noted guests included Financial Secretary - Joseph Waight, who attended as the Executor of Mr. Gandhi’s estate, Justice of the Supreme Court, Mrs Minnett Bertram and Mr. Bertram, Former Director of Immigration – Mrs. Diana Locke, Consulate, Embassy of India – Mrs. Hotchandani, Commissioners and staff of the International Financial Services Commission, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Belize – Mr. G.A. Harrison Pilgrim and other Members of the Board of Trustees and Ms. Shefalika Gandhi – niece of Mr. Gandhi and her two children.
Upon arrival in Belize in 1978, Mr. Gandhi became a Crown Counsel at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP). In 1982, he was promoted to be the Director of Public Prosecutions, and after four years as DPP, he was appointed as Solicitor General, a position he held for thirteen years. He reached the pinnacle of his career in the late 1990s when he was appointed and served concurrently as Legal Counsel in the Ministry of Finance and as Director-General of the International Financial Services Commission (IFSC). In his tribute to Mr. Gandhi, Mr. Joseph Waight stated, “… in keeping with his selflessness, generosity and love for Belize… Mr. Gandhi donated a large portion of his estate to the University of Belize. This donation is to the University’s Endowment Fund and will be used to support the training of young Belizeans for generations to come. By doing so, Mr Gandhi will continue to contribute to the growth and development of his adopted country that he loved so much.” In this vein, the University’s leadership and Board of Trustees found it fitting that Mr. Gandhi’s legacy be associated with the building that so visibly links the university, its students and faculty to Belize – that of its largest faculty, FMSS.
In celebrating her uncle, Ms. Gandhi cited, “We are proud of Gian’s illustrious career and in particular his accomplishments in Belize. Gian had been imbued, in ample measure, with qualities such as honesty, truth, decency. He was an intellectual par excellence and conducted himself with total dignity… [He was] a very good human being.”
UB’s President, Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, in his Vote of Thanks, referred to Mr. Gandhi’s homeland of India, where he quoted India’s only female Prime Minister (PM) and second longest serving PM, the late Ms. Indira Gandhi, who championed the role and importance of education in development. “Education is a liberating force, and in our age it is also a democratizing force, cutting across the barriers of caste and class, smothering our inequalities imposed by birth and other circumstances.” He went on to note, there is no doubt that these words echoed in Mr. Gian Chand Gandhi and his family, beneficiaries themselves of India’s progress in Education and he concluded by stating that UB too shares these sentiments and that is why we at UB say “Education empowers a Nation.”
The University of Belize is pleased to not only honor this remarkable man with the naming of the FMSS building, but also, in commemoration of his life, it will host an Annual Gian Chand Gandhi Memorial Lecture commencing 2020.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, the Senior Management Team and Students, Faculty and Staff of the University of Belize, President Sankat wishes to thank the Gandhi Family, Mr. Joseph Waight and all those who attended this event and those who support the University of Belize.