As Makerere's 67th graduation ceremony commenced today, the university convocation chaired by Dr Tanga Odoi launched two projects that made the event even more colourful.
The first project is about awarding the best students in every college so as to build the spirit of competition and handwork, while the other is about erecting a perimeter wall around the whole university through fundraising. According to Tanga, the latter project is meant to beef up the security of the institution.
"The safety of students and our staff take priority. We [convocation] are partnering with the university management and the government to erect this perimeter wall. We don't want the Garrissa university college incident [where dozens of students were massacred by terrorists, partly due to the college's insecurity]. So, we call upon each one of you to support us," Dr Tanga said, amidst ululations and deafening claps.
During a ceremony where a total of 3,146 received degrees and diplomas in various disciplines, Tanga also announced that they have for the start partnered with Uganda National Teachers Union (Unatu) to award best male and female students in teacher education from College Education and External Studies (Cees) of Uganda Law Society (ULS) to award the best from Law school and Fida Uganda to also award the best female student from Law school.
Tanga added that other partners are being brought on board and, as convocation, they will keep awarding the best overall student from arts and sciences respectively. The awards include a certificate, an academic excellence award and Shs 500,000.
For the start, Claire Nanyanzi and Bruce Twinomugisha from (Cees) were awarded, while the others will receive similar awards as the graduation ceremony goes on.
During the opening ceremony that was officiated by the university's chancellor Prof Ezra Suruma, only four colleges had students graduate. These included College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (Cedat) that had 679 graduates, Collge of Natural Sciences ( Conas) 415, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES) 650, and Cees that had 1384.
Prof Suruma asked the graduates to love and consider the possibility of joy in a sad world."I believe with all my heart that every human being has the capacity to love. May be that us what it means to be human. In your love may lie a great opportunity for you to make a difference... Together we can change the world and make it better than we found it. That I'd why we are here: to make a difference."
ENDOWMENT FUND RUN
The university chancellor Prof John Ddumba-Ssentamu said the institution is facing a serious challenge of inadequate funding. and therefore announced that there will be a run meant to raise funds to counter the shortage.
"I am pleased to inform you [chancellor Suruma] that the Board of trustees of the Makerere University Endowment fund chaired by Dr Martin Aliker is organising an Endowment Fund Run on April 2, 2017 to compliment it's resource mobilisation efforts and create awareness among alumni, friends and well-wishers about the fund," Ddumba said.
"I take this opportunity to call upon our congregation today including graduands, students and staff, parents and guardians as well as well-wishers to purchase tickets and t-shirts for the run, which are currently in sale."
Also in attendance was the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda promised government's support to any project by the university, on top of increasing the lecturers' salaries as promised by the president.
He however asked the staff and students to "engage in peaceful dialogues while faced with challenges as opposed to violence and industrial action."