Joyous celebration as Africa University marks its 29th graduation ceremony and sends forth largest graduating class to date

10 June 2023

Collins Prempeh from Ghana (center) sits with Rev. Dr. Kirk VanGilder, Assistant Professor of Religion at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.(left) and Rev. Tom Hudspeth. Associate Pastor at Lovers Lane UMC (right) who supported Collin’s studies at AU through the SEEDS (Serving and Educating Exceptional Deaf Students) Scholarship

Africa University graduated its largest class to date on the 10th of June 2023 where  over 950 students from  19 countries graduated at its 29th Graduation Ceremony. Guest of Honor and Keynote speaker of the day was Professor Theresa Nkuo- Akenji , Board Chairperson of The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) and the Vice Chancellor of The University of Bamenda Bambili, in Cameroon. It was an occasion marked by firsts that saw the first deaf student from the Institute of Theology and Religious Studies graduate with a Bachelors in Divinity, Collins Prempeh from Ghana.

It was also the first doctoral cohort to graduate from the College of Business, Peace , Leadership and Governance where 6 graduands received the PhD in Peace and Governance.

VC Rev. Prof. Mageto robes a one of the PhD in Peace and Governance graduates.
VC Rev. Prof. Mageto robes one of the PhD in Peace and Governance graduates.

Welcoming graduands, their families, stakeholders, partners and friends to the milestone occasion, Vice Chancellor Reverend Professor Peter Mageto applauded the hard work and determination of the class of 2023 over the years and detailed the myriad developments that are taking place at the university.

“We are proud of your accomplishments as your academic journey called for your resolve and determination to make it here. We are grateful to God for the successes we have recorded since our 30th Anniversary with the launch of new programmes and most notable , our newest school, the School of Law. We have managed to offer over 2 million dollars in scholarships and financial aid, for which we are grateful to the Board of Directors as this allows us to make higher education more accessible. Thanks also goes to the World Intellectual Property Organization , the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization and the Government of Japan for sponsoring the Masters in Intellectual Property Programme. Today we graduate our 15th Cohort and we have just signed an extension of the Masters in Intellectual Property for a further 5 years showing our commitment to the creation of IP experts for Africa. ”

Going on to mention more of the accomplishments that AU has realized , Professor Mageto spoke to the infrastructure developments taking place on campus with the East Ohio Women’s Hostel that is currently under construction with completion set for later this year. Spearheaded by Bishop Tracy Smith Malone and the East Ohio Conference’s Teach, Reach, Bless Campaign, the hostel will provide access for more females to reside on campus which shall go a long way in securing student success.

The ceremony also saw the largest group of women graduating from the university with over 60% constituting the class of 2023. Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker Professor Akenji  gave special mention to this, stating that AU’s growing female student population reflects its intentional determination to uplift more African women as she also highlighted the challenges of women’s access to higher education, business and the corporate sector.

“It has been brought to my attention that this is the largest class of graduating women in a single cohort at over 60% representation. Well done my sisters! It is important to note however that the struggle for a world of equal opportunity for women is still ongoing. A significant proportion of the continent’s population is made up of women. Yet women do not occupy a similar portfolio of responsibilities be it in public, private or civil sectors of our economy. This trend starts from education where owing to a range of challenges, the girl child is more likely to drop out of school than the male child. At Africa University, the student population is 52% female and this is a laudable effort to shift the paradigm, demonstrating Africa University’s commitment to the global movement towards equitable and inclusive opportunities for all including women and those living with disabilities. On this, I salute you Mr. Vice Chancellor Sir!”

Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker Professor Theresa Nkuo – Akenji

Professor Akenji also encouraged the graduating class to seed their talents and skills within their communities, not to shy away from hard work and to keep making history not only for themselves but for  their families  and nations as well.

Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Honorable Professor Amon Murwira represented by Permanent Secretary Professor Fanuel Tagwira who is also a Vice Chancellor Emeritus of AU urged the university to continue leading from the front.

“As a Pan- African institution, Africa University must provide leadership in dealing with continental challenges . You are leaders in Peace and Governance, Public Sector Management, eradication of Malaria and training in Intellectual Property. Africa University must help develop skills that are desperately needed on the continent in entrepreneurship, geographic information systems and remote sensing, artificial intelligence, big data analytics and others. My Ministry is there, ready to render support where the university needs it”.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Professor Fanuel Tagwira

With yet another successful graduation delivered, Africa University looks forward to a bright future with student success and needs its core focus. Diversity is the identity of the institution and this graduation reflected the African pride and representation that the 31-year-old institution has become renowned for on the continent and beyond. The graduating class of 2023 hailed from Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.