Memorial Service for Dr. the Hon. Rae Davis, Former President, Lauds Him as “A Unique Human Being”

The memorial service for Dr. the Hon. Rae Davis, OJ, CD, JP, Hon. DUNIV. UTech, Ja, Former President of the University of Technology, Jamaica who passed away peacefully on April 19, 2021, was held on May 26, 2021 at the University of the West Indies, Mona Chapel. Dr. Davis’ impact as a distinguished educator, engineer, public servant and nation builder was memorialized in the outpouring of tributes, which lauded his commitment to his family and to the Jamaican people.

“A Unique Human Being”

His brother, Dr. Omar Davies, in the heartwarming eulogy, shared personal anecdotes of the close connection Rae had with his family.

He described his elder brother as a “unique human being”, with a “deeply developed sense of social justice” which informed his leadership style. Dr. Davies spoke of the former UTech, Jamaica President as “a son and a brother, with all the quirks and limitations which go with such relationships.”

In addition to his leadership and legacy in his decade long tenure as President of the University of Technology, Jamaica, Dr. Davies also highlighted aspects of his brother’s stellar career as a public servant who held the position of Chairman of the HEART Trust NTA, head of the Taskforce on Education Reform, and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education. 

Dr Davis’ eldest daughter, Philippa recalled many of her father’s favorites, including the Jason Bourne films and Neil Diamond songs, as well as his warmth and his gift of storytelling.

She lauded her father for providing an “example throughout his life of the importance of public service to make a positive impact on the lives of others”, and reflected on his “patient and listening ear, reflective discussions on spiritual matters, and his gentle thankfulness for time spent together.”

Professor Colin Gyles, Acting President, UTech, Jamaica in his tribute expressed gratitude for having personal experience of Dr. Davis’ “kindness, accommodation and support”, adding that “his footprint and legacy are not only etched in the evidence of the tremendous development of the physical campus, but also in the collective memories of all who had the honour of working with him.”

Professor Gyles also praised Dr. Davis’ stewardship of UTech, Jamaica, which achieved University status during his tenure, and also saw significant improvement in the physical infrastructure and the development of the sports programme.

 Tribute was also given by close friend and former colleague, Dr. Farley Braithwaite, retired educator.

The thanksgiving service was enriched with interludes of musical tributes from Lt. Commander John McFarlane, Mr. Rory Baugh and the UTech, Jamaica Choir, with accompaniment by musicians Yekengale and Paulette Bellamy.

Mr. Rory Baugh (left) and Lt. Commander John McFarlane deliver their rendition of “Time to Say Goodbye” at the memorial service for Dr. Rae Davis, former UTech, Jamaica president.

In his homily, Reverend Dr. Oliver Daley, offered condolences to Dr. Davis’ widow, Mrs. Jemelia Davis and members of the family. In his reflection, Rev. Dr. Daley shared the thought “Though dead, he still speaks” as a fitting expression of the ambition that each person should have, where following their passing, their actions would still have lasting impact and value.

Rev. Dr. Daley lauded Dr. Davis as an ideal example of this emulatable characteristic, noting “he was willing to use his life as the paintbrush to paint a picture of hope for those who would come after.”

The other officiating minister was Rev Dr Roderick Hewitt.

Words of comfort to the family and tributes to the life and legacy of Dr. Davis were received throughout the live stream of the ceremony via the UTech, Jamaica YouTube page. 

Watch the ceremony here:


Michelle Beckford (Mrs.)
Corporate Communications Manager
University of Technology, Jamaica
Telephone: 876 970-5299