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Going Beyond Borders’

Dr. Joseph L. Tait a New York based retired veterinarian and JCOBA-NY’s primary benefactor, graduated from Jamaica College in 1953. He continued his studies at Mico Teachers college before matriculating at New York University, where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1962. He subsequently attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1968 -  the only person of colour in his graduating class. 

His history of trailblazing continued when he became the first person of colour to establish a veterinary medical practice in New York City; the first person of colour appointed President of the NYC Veterinary Society and the first person of colour appointed to the New York State Board of Veterinary Medicine. True to the Jamaica College ethos of service, Dr. Tait sought to improve the lives of young people in the community who he feels should be accorded top priority. His passion for providing underserved youth with guidance through mentorship, led him to establish a healthcare-related educational scholarship assistance fund and internships for bright, talented, committed young people striving for academic excellence with strong connections to the Harlem community.

Dr. Tait served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Harlem Commonwealth Council, its subsidiaries and affiliates from September 2004 until his retirement in April 2016. During his tenure, his vision for the future of the Harlem Commonwealth Group sparked and promoted sustainable economic development opportunities, which benefited countless Harlem residents. Acutely aware of the challenging socio-economic conditions community residents continue to endure, he specifically focused on implementing economic development initiatives that evolved from making numerous NYC real estate holdings profitable in addition to structuring programs to meet the demand for quality education choices. 

As a catalyst and renown authority in the field of Veterinary medicine, Dr. Tait has been a constant on the lecture circuit, sharing his wealth of knowledge and professional expertise around the globe.  

The True Blue spirit has always flowed through his veins, and in 2019 Dr. Tait returned to his alma mater in grand fashion, where he endowed the Dr. Joseph L. Tait Bursary Fund with initial funding of USD 50,000 (JMD 72 million). This scholarship fund will benefit talented and deserving Jamaica College Students and the first recipient was J’voughnn Blake, the outstanding student-athlete.  

To cement his legacy, Dr. Tait also established the Tait Academy of Innovation and Technology (TAIT). This first in the nation USD 500,000 (JMD 66 million) signature initiative, with a clarion call of ‘Going Beyond Borders’, will infuse and integrate a culture of STEM education into the Jamaica College academic curriculum. Building on the strategic and pioneering work of JCOBA-NY, the Tait Academy of Innovation and Technology is a timely spark and technological foundation to deliver a world-class STEM Center of Excellence at Jamaica College, thus heralding a pivotal interchange towards a 21st Century model for education in Jamaica. 

Fervet Opus in Campis!


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