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Ms. Silpah Anyango Owich receives her Doctor of Business Administration degree from the Chair of the University Council Dr. Lola Odubekun during the 40th Commencement Ceremony held on Saturday, September 29, 2018 at the Graduation Yard. 1316 graduands were awarded degrees offered by 23 programs at undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels. Looking on is Associate Professor of Strategic Management Dr. Paul Katuse (left) and Assistant Professor of Management Dr. James Ngari (Second right). PHOTO: ANTONIO LONGANGI

By Taigu Muchiri & Dan Muchai

Vice-Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza led the University in marking USIU-Africa’s 40th Commencement Ceremony last Saturday, September 29, where 1316 graduands were conferred with doctoral, graduate and undergraduate degrees.

While congratulating the graduating class, the guest of honor Prof. Collette Suda (Chief Administrative and Principal Secretary, State Department for University Education and Research, Ministry of Education) applauded the University for maintaining high standards in providing quality education to produce skilled and competent graduates.

She noted with appreciation the role played by the Placement and Career Services Department in preparing the graduands for the job market, lauding USIU-Africa’s pioneering role in ensuring students are also prepared and mentored on developing entrepreneurial skills that will enable them create jobs upon graduation.
In line with that observation, Prof. Suda also emphasized the connection between skills learned in campus and the demands of the current job market, adding that it is paramount that students get hands on experience before fully transitioning into the formal job sector.

University Council Chair Dr. Lola Odubekun called on the graduates to be ethical and effective ambassadors for USIU-Africa. She reiterated the need to continuously grow the University as an institution of academic excellence by using indicators to measure performance in order to improve the quality of education. 

The University has continued to make great strides as a premier institute of academic excellence over the years. The proportion of faculty with PHDs rose from 64 percent to 71 percent, which is the highest in the country, according to Ministry of Education statistics that place the current national average at 34 percent.

In his remarks the Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza noted that the University has increased its research kitty over the last few academic years, which had translated into remarkable growth of external research grants in the 2017-18 academic year.

The recent partnership with the Africa Development Bank partnership to equip African youth with employability skills he said, is an example that is setting the University apart. In addition, Prof. Zeleza announced the University will train over 34000 youths across the country under the Kenya Youth Employment Opportunities project that is spearheaded by the International Development Agency together with the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs. These initiatives, he said, are set to launch Kenyan youth into the job market with ready skills appropriate to the modern workplace and economy.

The event marked the launch of USIU-Africa @50 activities and events that will be taking place this academic year, marking the University’s golden anniversary.

Towards the conclusion of the ceremony, university recognizes specific members of the graduating class who have made outstanding contributions to the university community. This year, Mr Mathew Ndolo (International Relations, Cum Laude) Ms. Naushad Begum Khan (Psychology) and Ms. Elham Soni (International Relations) each received community service awards.

Mr. Ndolo was recognized for the role he played as a member of the Constitutional Review Committee and the Electoral Commission, as well as member of the Young Diplomats Forum winning team at the 4th Amnesty International Annual Intervarsity Human Rights Debate.

During her academic career Ms. Khan chaired the Peer Counseling and Educators Club, and in this capacity actively trained peer counselors, referred the highest number of peers for counseling support, as well planning and implementing a wide range of Counseling Services awareness activities across campus.

Ms. Soni was feted as founding President of the Educate Your Own student initiative, which, so far, has raised over KES 1million and assisted 21 students continue with their education.