Africa University 24th Graduation Ceremony – History in the making
On the 9th of June 2018 Africa University held its 24th graduation ceremony at its Mutare campus graduating 616 students from Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, Mozambique, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Burundi, Gambia, Sudan, Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Lesotho. In attendance were partners of the University, Government representatives and donors, many of whom had sponsored some of the students who were graduating on the day.
In celebration of and to honour the various countries represented, the road leading up to the University Main Campus was decorated with the flags of all the countries hosted at Africa University amongst its students and staff celebrating the diversity of the university and uniquely staking its claim to being a Pan- African university the likes of which have never been witnessed elsewhere on the continent.
The Guest of Honour and Key note Speaker of the graduation ceremony Mr. Timothy Keating, the Vice President of Government Operations for The Boeing Company, delivered a rousing speech to the graduates encouraging them to rely on integrity, hard work and passion to achieve their goals and aspirations. He said,
“ While success relies on a combination of factors among them good fortune , intelligence and drive, what is most important is to show up and be present, always making yourself available and opening yourself up to opportunities. No task is too small or menial. You must give your all in everything that you do.”
The graduates, who were enthralled and captured by the core message of Mr. Keating’s speech which was respect for oneself, respect for others and a steadfast commitment to making the lives of others better gave a standing ovation to the Guest of Honour for the time he took to spend the morning with them and celebrate such as momentous occasion in their lives.
The Guest of Honour and Key Note Speaker was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Peace and Leadership by Africa University with Mr. Keating joining the ranks of philanthropist Tsitsi Masiyiwa , and civil rights activist James Waites who also received similar distinctions during the institution's 25th Anniversary Celebrations held the previous year in 2017.
Mr Keating generously bequeathed to the university an endowed scholarship in the name of his wife of over 30 years, Mrs. Ann Keating, for female students amounting to $130, 000 that will undoubtedly create a life- changing legacy for the talented young women who will be the recipients of the funds. The education of women in communities and its inherent benefits have been well- researched with it being proven that targeted educational interventions such as these translate into positive economic development that transcends generations.
For the Africa University Vice Chancellor Professor Munashe Furusa, the graduating class of 2018 held a special place in his heart as many of the students who were graduating began their studies at the university as freshmen at the same time that Professor Furusa was charged with leading AU making them the first class that he has seen through their respective programmes from the beginning to the end.
Also in attendance was the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Professor Amon Murwirwa who heaped commendations and praise on the university for its accomplishments and steadfast commitment to emancipating the continent through education proving itself to being a committed partner in the development Africa. Also gracing the occasion was the Minister of State for Manicaland, Honourable Monica Mutsvangwa and Honourable Minister Christopher Mushohwe, Minister of State in the Presidents’ Office Responsible for Scholarships.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr. John Mangudya, other senior government officials and members of the diplomatic corps also joined in the celebrations. The Zimbabwean business community was also well represented reflecting the strong ties that Africa University shares with the corporate sector as its valued partner in ensuring that education is accessible to all.
The ever vibrant and enthusiastic Africa University Choir sang incredibly bringing guests to their feet as parents, graduates, staff, students and partners danced joyously and sang along to the choir’s most popular songs. This year’s graduation was one that was truly memorable for all involved and is an occasion that many across Zimbabwe look forward to and reserve on their calendars as there is no other ceremony like it due to the spirit, energy, love, togetherness and welcome that all who attend feel the second they enter the gates of Africa University.