University of the West Indies (UWI) Vice Chancellor, Prof. E. Nigel Harris, has announced Jamaican-born U.S. restaurant chain owner Lowell Hawthorne, O.D., as the new chairman of the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies (AFUWI) Partnership Board.
Hawthorne is president & CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill Inc., which operates a chain of 120-franchised quick serve restaurants specializing in Jamaican cuisine.
Making the announcement in New York, AFUWI headquarters, this week, Prof. Harris hailed Hawthorne as “A Caribbean luminary of Jamaican heritage who has accumulated a number of remarkable achievements in the USA and has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to supporting education” including the sponsorship of scholarships to several Jamaican institutions such as the UWI and Oberlin High School, as well as to United States institutions, such as the Bronx Community College.
Hawthorne who was conferred with the Order of Distinction by the government of Jamaica in 2005, has been honored by several notable U.S. and Caribbean organizations. He was named “Entrepreneur of the Year for the Tri State Area” by accounting firm Ernst & Young in 2001; his chain was listed among “Top franchise opportunities in the nation” by Entrepreneur Magazine in 2003; he was the Gleaner’s North American edition “Man of the Year” in 2008 and one of the AFUWI’s “Caribbean Luminaries” in 2009.
The success of the Golden Krust chain has been chronicled widely in U.S. media including the New York Times, the New York Daily News, Black Enterprise Magazine, CNN and FOX 5 News and it has been continuously acknowledged as “the largest manufacturer, distributor and franchisor of Caribbean baked products in the U.S.A.”
Prof. Harris highlighted the significant interdependence between the Caribbean region and the USA, noting the vital role of the UWI in educating the peoples of the region.
In his comments, Hawthorne reiterated his personal commitment to contributing to the development of young people in the Caribbean and the Diaspora. He cited the opportunity to serve on the Foundation’s Board “as providing another vehicle for making positive changes in our community” and affirmed his belief that “investment in education is one of the best ways to impact society.”
It is expected that Hawthorne’s leadership of the Partnership Board will greatly assist the Foundation in its support and contribution to the UWI.