Delivering the Keynote Address at the Official Opening of the Franklyn R. Wilson Graduate Centre at the University of The Bahamas, Prime Minister Dr. the Hon Hubert A. Minnis said that the growth of the institution is essential to national development. Named after one of the university’s biggest contributors, Sir Franklyn Wilson, the state-of-the-art center was constructed at a cost of $3 million – one million each from Sir Franklyn Wilson and Sharon, Lady Wilson, the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, and the Royal Bank of Canada. The auditorium at the center is named the RBC Royal Bank Auditorium. Also donating to the Centre were the Canadian Friends of the University of The Bahamas, and Sunshine Holdings Ltd., which facilitated construction and equipment of the center. The opening ceremony on Thursday, May 17, 2018, was also attended by Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, who participated in the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Unveiling of the Plaque along with the Wilson family members, representatives of RBC and other donors. “This center of excellence is designed to provide some of the critical resources necessary for students pursuing graduate degree programmes designed to give The Bahamas a competitive edge in the global marketplace,” the Prime Minister said.
The facility, the brainchild of Sir Franklyn, who is deemed a national philanthropist, has overseen the raising of over $1.5 million in scholarships to expand opportunities for college education, and he has worked to link business to the causes of reducing the incidence of cancer, improving general physical well-being and advancing sports tourism. “Today’s inauguration of the Franklyn R. Wilson Graduate Centre at the University of The Bahamas is another milestone in the University’s efforts to offer graduate studies in a range of disciplines,” the Prime Minister said. He added, “The ongoing institutional development and advancement of the University of The Bahamas is essential for national development. Critical to this process is graduate and doctoral programs, inclusive of research, which may help in our national development.” According to the Prime Minister, the new Graduate Centre is another example of how public-private partnerships may aid the common good. “On behalf of the Government of The Bahamas I thank Sir Franklyn and Lady Wilson for their generous donation of $1 million dollars to make this center a reality,” he said.
The Prime Minister thanked the donors for the role they played in the opening of the center. He pointed out that RBC has contributed to a number of charities as a corporate citizen; and is about to launch a 10-year, $500 million global initiative from the auditorium. Called Future Launch, the global initiative is designed to close three critical gaps: helping youth get work experience, helping youth grow their network and helping youth gain new skills. Sir Franklyn, a former chairman of the Council of The College of The Bahamas from 2002-2007, has a longstanding commitment to the country’s leading tertiary institution and to education. “We are grateful for his many years of service to the development of The College of The Bahamas, which now enjoys university status because of the efforts of individuals like Sir Franklyn,” the Prime Minister said. Sir Franklyn also helped to secure funding for a number of projects. This included his personal donation of funds. “I am advised that Sir Franklyn insisted on increasing the green spaces at this campus,” the Prime Minister said. Over the many decades, Sir Franklyn and Lady Wilson have generously donated to a range of public and private initiatives and programs ranging from education to health and wellness. “Their philanthropy, charitable work, and community service, are noteworthy and exemplary, and much appreciated,” the Prime Minister said.