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Wycliffe S. Bennett

Died: October 9, 2009

Wycliffe Bennett came to Yale from Jamaica, already a grown man. He was at least 16 years older than the majority of his classmates and had been married for five years to Hazel Bennett, who was to become a noted author and pioneer in the Jamaica Library Service. Wycliffe was a dapper and composed man, perhaps reflecting his relative maturity. He was rarely seen without coat and tie, a sober mien and a lyrically accented, modulated voice. Indeed, when he returned to Jamaica, he became a well-recognized educator in elocution and public speaking. He was a moving force in the field of radio and television broadcasting, eventually becoming the general manager of the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC). He was one of the original organizers of the National Festival of Arts of Jamaica and became head of the Creative Production and Training Center (CPTC), which was the principal focus of public broadcasting of the arts in the country. In 2007 CPTC renamed their newly reconstructed main television studio the Wycliffe Bennett Television Studio. Other honors included: The Actor Boy Lifetime Achievement Award; the National Order of Distinction; the Silver Musgrave Medal; and the Centenary Medal from the Institute of Jamaica. Wycliffe and his wife, Dr. Hazel Bennett, published the definitive history of theater in the country, Jamaican Theatre: Highlights of the Performing Arts in the Twentieth Century, University of West Indies (ISBN:9789766402266).

Wycliffe died after a prolonged illness at the University Hospital of the West Indies, St. Andrew Parish, County of Surrey, Jamaica, on October 5, 2009. He was 87 years old. He was survived by his wife Hazel; daughter, Dr. Carlene Bennett; and son, Wycliffe Lincoln Bennett.