From IMP to UCC: Honouring Aaron Joseph Matalon's Educational Legacy
October 30, 2023 - In a heart-warming ceremony on the 104th anniversary of the birthday of the Honourable Aaron Joseph Matalon, OJ, Hon. LLD, his family and friends along with colleagues from the former Institute of Management and Production joined leadership at the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC) to honour the memory of this forward-thinking business legend.
The Aaron Joseph Matalon Library pays tribute to the distinguished legacy of the Honourable Aaron Joseph Matalon, OJ, Hon. LLD, in the annals of the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC). A visionary pioneer, Hon. Aaron Matalon, laid the foundation for the Institute of Management Production (IMP) in 1976. His remarkable journey was eloquently acknowledged by Professor Neville Ying, the initial Director and subsequent Chairman of IMP, who fondly remembered their dialogues about the library's conceptualisation. Joining this commemoration were other former IMP Directors, including Professor Elsa Leo-Rhynie and Mrs. Grace Martin-Hall. Professor Ying further illuminated the historical narrative by highlighting the 2002 merger of IMP with the Institute of Management Sciences, founded in 1992 by Dr. Winston Adams and Mrs. Geraldine Adams. This amalgamation paved the way for the formation of the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean, now headquartered at Worthington Avenue, with the original IMP infrastructure still in active use.
The message from Dr. Winston Adams, founder of UCC was read by the Interim Chair, Dr. Velma Brown and highlighted his hope that the Aaron Joseph Matalon will “serve as a reminder of the transformative power of education, resilience in the face of adversity, and the enduring spirit of a man who dedicated his life to the betterment of Jamaica”. Dr. Brown in her remarks spoke of the characteristics of our national heroes and attributed those qualities to the Hon. Aaron Joseph Matalon as she invited the participants to stand and acknowledge his contributions to Jamaica and UCC in particular.
Mrs. Judith Bruce, former HR Manager and a Director of the ICD Group and a niece of the Hon. Aaron Matalon, presented a cheque for a substantial amount from the ICD Group. This is one of the companies the Hon. Aaron Matalon founded with his brothers and sisters from the original Commodity Service Company Ltd. they started after World War II. The donation will assist with the modernisation of the library at the Worthington Avenue Campus. Chief Librarian, Ana Peralta gave a demonstration of the SMART-Board which will be used in library classes and other sessions across the campus. She highlighted plans to enhance the use of technology and innovation and to increase the access to devices for students to support knowledge and learning.
Mr. Joseph A. Matalon, son of the Hon. Aaron Joseph Matalon regaled the guests at the ceremony with anecdotes and memories about his father and the legacy he left the family and nation. He spoke in particular about his father as a workaholic who had no hobbies but loved Jamaican Art and so assembled a large collection which he eventually donated to the National Gallery along with a book he published, "Gifts for the Nation, the Aaron and Marjorie Matalon Collection". Of special note, Mr. Matalon then donated his own personal copy of this book to the UCC for the Aaron Joseph Matalon Library.
On the second floor of UCC’s Knowledge and Innovation Building, a symbolic inauguration unfolded, marking the formal introduction of The Aaron Joseph Matalon Library. This ceremony included the unveiling of doors adorned with its new name, and was conducted by Mrs. Barbara Henriquez, alongside Mrs. Geraldine Adams, Deputy Executive Chair of the UCC Group. Following this momentous event, Mrs. Henriquez and her brother, Mr. Joseph A. Matalon, revealed a bust of their father, skilfully crafted by the renowned Jamaican sculptor, Kay Sullivan. Beside the bust is a captivating photograph of the venerable gentleman with a short biography to ensure that everyone who enters the library will be informed about this great man and the role he played in the establishment of UCC.
The ceremony was watched online by Dr. Winston Adams, several Board members, Managers of the four other UCC campuses along with Matalon family members overseas including Mrs. Janet Carvalho, the other daughter, who unfortunately was unable to travel at this time.
The legacy of the Hon. Aaron Joseph Matalon, OJ, Hon. LLD. lives on at UCC and the ever-present bust and biography will inspire students and staff to be resilient and innovative as leaders in business and management.