After Sir Roy Marshall demitted the office of Chairman, Dr Dennis Irvine, the then Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana was elected Chairman.
It was his task to provide the leadership to respond to an ambitious agenda set by the Heads of regional participating governments for the conduct of the first CSEC examination in 1979. Dr Irvine presided with distinction over the administration of the first CSEC examinations in 1979.
Dr Irvine had a distinguished academic career. After earning a first class honours degree in Chemistry from the Leeds University and a PhD from Cambridge, he began his career at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria where he was first a lecturer and then Professor of Chemistry. He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana for 13 years and later UNESCO’s Science Adviser to the Caribbean and Education Consultant to the Jamaican Government in the 1980s, before joining Commonwealth of Learning(COL).
He served at COL as Director of Caribbean Programmes as well as of Materials Acquisition and Development from its early days in July 1989 until July 1994.In 2002, he was named an Honorary Fellow of COL and received Jamaica’s highest national honour, Commander of Distinction.
After he passed away in 2005, Council took a decision to name the CAPE Regional Top Award in his honour.