The 80-year-old Kingston College Old Boys Association (KCOBA) has adjusted the all-male traditional format of its annual reunion dinner.
Starting with this year's renewal on November 17, the association will begin to allow women to attend the event, ending the decades-old, all-male fellowship.
The board of directors of the KCOBA at its recent meeting decided that it was not in the organisation's best interest to continue with the practice of barring women from attending the dinner, citing changes in global marketplaces that have already redounded to the benefit of all concerned.
Among the global changes, the KCOBA said, was the admission of women to become members of Marylebone Cricket Club, the world's biggest cricket brand at Lord's in London, England, and the move by Kingston Cricket Club in Jamaica to also allow women to join its ranks and have access to all areas of the club.
Kingston College, an all-boy institution with campuses at North Street and Upper Elletson Road in Kingston, has a student population of 1,900.
"The board of the KC Old Boys Association, by majority decision, agreed to the change, which it believes will benefit the association and ultimately the school in a major way," said Dr Ray Fraser, president of the KC Old Boys Association. "There will be those for and those against the move, but we believe that, ultimately, Kingston College will be better off for the decision," Dr Fraser added. Director in charge of the KC Old Boys Secretariat, Conrad Senior, said plans were already advanced to welcome women.
"This is a historic move, one which is long overdue. Although KC is an all-boy school, women have been at the forefront of the struggle to make the school remain one of the foremost institutions of learning in the western hemisphere.
"There should be no discrimination of women from any of our events, and the move by the board of directors of the KCOBA should be commended by all who mean the institution well.
"Our women have helped us every step of the way, over the years, and so they should be given a chance to share with us in every area of merrymaking and fellowship," Senior said.
This year's annual reunion dinner will be held on Saturday, November 17 at The Wyndham hotel, New Kingston. President of the University of Technology, Professor Errol Morrison, will be the guest speaker.
Kingston College was founded on April 16, 1925 and has grown into one of the leading high schools in the region.
KCOB Marlon Young of Fame 95 FM will be the DJ for the evening.
The Honourees and Special Awardees will be Frank Rance of FDR, Richard 'Pardy' Forbers of Phase 3, Lloyd Bennett, Dudley Smith, Earle Spencer and Strattan Palmer.
Tickets are available at The Bookshop at North Street, Genus Pharmacy-Portmore and Winchester Medical or call 368-6453, 809-0784 and 587-0841