The International College of the Cayman Islands pioneered higher education in Cayman.
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The International College is racing towards its 50th anniversary, but just a few years ago it celebrated 40 years of service in education.
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The International College of the Cayman Islands is the outgrowth of a need felt by a small group of Caymanians and Americans to establish a private, independent institution of higher education in the Cayman Islands, since no other such institution existed in the Islands. The need was initially expressed by Floris McCoy McField, a Caymanian teacher. A Founding Committee was organized by Dr. J. Hugh Cummings early in 1967. The Committee worked for several years making plans for the organization and establishment of the College. In January 1968, the American Committee for the College of the Cayman Islands was formed to provide financial help for establishing a college in the Cayman Islands, a college that would later be named International College of the Cayman Islands.
Initial land for the campus in Newlands was donated by the Hon. James M. Bodden. An American Friends Service Committee volunteer work camp, during the summer of 1969, began construction of Friends Hall, the original building for the College. During the summer of 1970, an Operation Crossroads Africa volunteer work camp helped to complete construction on the building. Classes began September 24, 1970, and Friends Hall was dedicated on January 23, 1971.
Construction on the second building, Clayton Strain Residence Hall, began in January 1971. The building opened for use in September 1971. Construction of the library building began in the summer of 1973; it was available for use in 1974. In January 1973, ICCI acquired the Sylvia Gill Secretarial College and moved its facilities from George Town to the ICCI campus in Newlands.
In the fall of 1975, the College was chartered in the State of Florida as a degree‑granting institution and authorized by the former Florida State Board of Independent Colleges and Universities (now Commission for Independent Education) to offer courses of study leading to Associate, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Classes and seminars were first offered through the Miami Center in 1976. The College was accredited as a Senior College by the Accrediting Commission of the Association of Independent Colleges and Schools (now Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools) in August 1979. In the Winter Quarter 1980, graduate studies leading to the Master of Science degree were inaugurated. In the Winter Quarter 1993, the Master of Business Administration degree program began.
In January 2000, the founder of the college, Dr. J. Hugh Cummings, passed away. A memorial walk is held each year on the second Saturday in February from the college campus, which was the birthplace of tertiary education in the Cayman Islands, to Pedro St. James Castle, the birthplace of democracy in the Cayman Islands.
In September 2004 the college campus was destroyed when Hurricane Ivan, a category five hurricane, passed within a few miles of Grand Cayman devastating the Cayman Islands. All three campus buildings and the radio tower sustained damage and were unusable. The college resumed operations at St. Ignatius High School in George Town in November 2004 and continued to operate at that location through the end of the Fall Quarter 2005. In January 2006 the college returned to its original campus with two repaired and renovated buildings. The new Friends Hall Classroom building and the new Clayton Strain Hall opened for the Winter Quarter 2006. The repairs and renovation of both buildings were completed by the generous donation of a distinguished graduate of the college, Mrs. Dorothy Scott.
In 2011, the College opened the Carlyle and Martha McLaughlin Hall, thanks to the generous donation of Mr. and Mrs. McLaughlin. The building has two classrooms outfitted with high-tech electronics provided by the Cayman Islands Society of Professional Accountants and the Cayman Islands Fund Administrators Association.