The four years spent at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona campus in Jamaica were the most exciting of my life, says Barbadian-born Canadian-based professor emeritus Dr. Keith Sandiford.
The Combermere School graduate won an Arts Faculty prize in 1957, an American History award two years later and his degree and Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship a year later that brought him to Toronto where he secured his Masters and Ph.D.
Sandiford taught modern history at the University of Manitoba for 32 years before retiring in 1998. Prior to going to Manitoba, he taught at the U of T and York University.
Considered one of the leading cricket sociologists and statisticians, Sandiford will be conferred with an honorary doctorate by the UWI at its Cave Hill campus in Barbados on October 22.
“I learned to play bridge, throw darts, play dominoes and drink beer,” Sandiford, a Life Master of the American Bridge League and recognized scrabble expert, recalled of his time spent at the Mona campus. “It took me away from home for the first time and I had to become used to a non-Barbadian environment. I grew up and matured in those four years.”
The recipient of several awards, including Barbados’ Gold Crown of Merit for his contributions to community service and education and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Manitoba Black History Month Committee, Sandiford considers the honorary doctorate one of the most important accolades he has received.
A UWI external examiner for several years, he turned down the only opportunity he was offered to return to the Caribbean university to lecture at the CLR James Centre for Cricket Research at Cave Hill Campus.
“Hilary Beckles (the centre’s founding director) made the offer, but it was not convenient for me at the time,” Sandiford said. “I felt more comfortable here writing articles for Cricket Lore and other magazines.
Sandiford taught at U of T and York University before taking up a three-decade teaching position at the University of Manitoba where he served two terms as Chair of the Graduate Studies Program/History and the Teaching Advisory Committee. He was also the first Chair of the university’s President’s Advisory Council on Human Rights established in 1991.
He has a stellar community service record, serving as president of the Barbados Association of Winnipeg, the Caribbean Seniors of Manitoba and the National Council of Barbadian Associations in Canada and executive member of the National Council of Black Educators, the Canadian Ethnocultural Council and the Canadian Labour Force Development Board.
A prolific and wide-ranging author, Sandiford’s books include Cricket and the Victorians, Cricket Nurseries of Colonial Barbados: The Elite Schools 1865-1966 and Impact of Caribbean Immigration on the Development of Manitoba 1950-2002.
He also collaborated with Dr. Arjun Tan to produce The Three W’s of West Indian Cricket: A Comparative Batting Analysis, with Ray Goble to pen 75 Years of West Indies Cricket 1928-2003 and with Sir Carlisle Burton to generate Cricket at Kensington 1895-2004.
A regular contributor to The Journal of the Cricket Society, Sandiford has written seven monographs in the “Famous Cricketers” series published by the Association of Cricket Statisticians Historians.
His most recent publication, Some Barbadian Canadians: A Biographical Dictionary showcases the significant contributions of close to 450 Bajan nationals in their adopted homeland.
UWI will also bestow honorary doctorates next month on former West Indies cricket captain Brian Lara, T & T bandleader Roy Cape and Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man.