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Aug. 5, 2007 – Dr. LaVerne E. Ragster, president of the University of the Virgin Islands, leads the university in mourning the death of Dr. Sylvester MacDonald, who for more than 25 years served as the university's physician on the St. Thomas campus.
Dr. MacDonald died on Friday afternoon, July 27, at Schneider Regional Medical Center.
"The passing of 'Dr. Mac' is a loss for the entire Virgin Islands community," Dr. Ragster said. "As a notable public servant and physician, his sense of social responsibility to the Virgin Islands community epitomized the concept of public service. The name Dr. Sylvester McDonald will go down in the annals of Virgin Islands history as a respected leader who dedicated his life for the betterment of the entire territory."
Dr. MacDonald was recently recognized by UVI at its 2007 Charter Day Ceremony on March 16. "This has been the greatest part of my life," Dr. MacDonald in his remarks about his service. "I don't have many years left, but I'll spend them remembering the College of the Virgin Islands and the University of the Virgin Islands," he said in March.
Former UVI Health Services Supervisor and Campus Nurse Diane Ruan-Viville said she is saddened by Dr. MacDonald's passing. "I knew Dr. Mac since I was a little, little girl," Ruan-Viville said. She went on to work with him for seven years at the hospital's operating room and for 21 years at the University. She described Dr. MacDonald as a "level headed, warm, considerate physician" for whom she gained respect and admiration over the years. "Family was so important to him, and that's what I really admired," said Ruan-Viville, who visited Dr. MacDonald on the day before he died. "I pray that the Lord gives his family the strength and endurance to go on." He can never be duplicated, she said. "After God made him, the mold was broken," Ruan-Viville said. "There is no other like Dr. Mac."
The funeral service is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 7, at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral.