UVI Board Approves Loan for School of Medicine Endowment

The University of the Virgin Islands Board of Trustees authorized President David Hall to execute a loan to create an endowment for the UVI School of Medicine, during a special meeting May 4.

The loan helps the university meet the requirements of Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria’s gift agreement. Kathuria, chairman of New Generation Power, a Chicago-based energy company, promised a $30 million donation to UVI to found a small, roughly 25 student medical school in the territory, with classes on St. Thomas and, later, practical examinations on St. Croix. (See Related Links below)

According to a statement from UVI, the loan will be subsequently co-signed by Kathuria and will be paid through the proceeds of his gift. Eleven trustees voted in favor: Aletha Baumann, David Hall, Sharon McCollum, Alexander Moorhead, Nandi Sekou, Henry Smock, Jacqueline Sprauve, Patricia Steele, Edward Thomas, Sinclair Wilkinson and Wesley Williams. No one voted against the measure. Trustee Yvonne Thraen abstained.

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While in executive session, the Board also approved the selection of Dale LeFebvre to the board of directors of the Foundation for the University of the Virgin Islands. LeFebvre is the founder and chairman of Oson VI, LLC, a management, consulting and investment advisory firm. According to UVI, He has raised and managed over $1 billion for investors, institutions and money funds. President Barack Obama recently appointed LeFebvre to the Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In 2013, LeFebvre donated $250,000 to UVI to establish the LeFebvre Endowed Student Fellowship Award and the Oson VI, LLC Endowed Fund for Recruitment and Retention.

The board also approved amendments to the UVI Foundation bylaws. The amendments were made to Article II of the bylaws to clarify and expand the purposes of the foundation. The words “lend, borrow, sell, purchase, trade” were added to the list of the purposes for which the foundation is organized; likewise the terms “any gifts, legacies, bequests, devises, funds real and personal (property)” were added so that the amended portion reads: “Consistent with Article IV of the foundation’s Articles of Incorporation, the purposes for which the foundation is organized are to solicit, receive, hold, lend, borrow, sell, purchase, trade, invest, manage, use, dispose of and administer any gifts, legacies, bequests, devises, funds, real and personal property of all kinds, whether given absolutely or in trust, or by way of agency or otherwise for the benefit of the University, and for all the educational and support activities that may be conducted by the University.”

“The amendments expand the authorizations (so) that the board of directors for FUVI would be allowed to engage in these particular types of investment activities,” Marie Thomas Griffith, UVI’s legal counsel, said in a statement from the university. “We wanted to ensure that within the governing documents for the foundation itself we enumerated these items.”

FUVI Executive Director Haldane Davies said the amendment was important as the FUVI Board moves forward to engage in other types of investment activities and “to ensure that our intergenerational equity is preserved so that we could exist way into the future.” Davies also is vice president for Business Development and Innovation at UVI. The amendments, already approved by the FUVI Board of Directors, needed to be approved by the UVI Board to become official.

The special meeting was held on the St. Thomas Campus, with several trustees joining via teleconference. The Board of Trustees last met March 7 on St. Croix.

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