Black History profile: Sir Kenneth Hall

Did you know that Jamaica’s fifth Governor General was a Queen’s graduate?

In honour of Black Histories and Futures Month, we celebrate the career and impact of Sir Kenneth Hall, MA’69, PhD’71, whose leadership over four decades made an impact in education in both Jamaica and the U.S. 

After graduating from Queen’s with PhD in history, Hall held various positions as a lecturer, researcher, adjunct professor and assistant provost at Syracuse University, the University of West Indies (UWI), and State University of New York (Albany and Oswego). He eventually became principal of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. 

His most high-profile role came in 2006 when he became governor general and used his time in office to focus on education and promoting youth initiatives. He established the Governor-General’s Youth Award for Excellence program, which evolved into the current Governor General’s Achievement Awards. He stepped down from the position in 2009 due to health reasons.

Hall also served the CARICOM (Caribbean Community) Secretariat from 1975-77 and 1994-96. The organization is made up of 15 member states (including Bahamas, Barbados, Haiti) which promotes political and economic co-operation among its members. 

In 2007, he was conferred with the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, an honour established by King George III in 1818 for extraordinary service to the United Kingdom in a foreign country. Hall received the insignia from Queen Elizabeth II during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. 

Want to learn more about great Black alumni from Queen’s? Follow the Queen’s Alumni social media accounts for weekly profiles throughout the month of February.