UCU holds first-ever virtual graduation
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2020/12/ucu-unveils-10-million-infrastructure-project-at-first-ever-virtual-graduation/
By John Semakula
In the midst of the first-ever virtual graduation ceremony of Uganda Christian University (UCU) on December 18, 2020, there was hope.
The hope was in the 1,810 students – most of them not physically present – getting diplomas and degrees and in the announcement of infrastructural development projects to be implemented, starting in 2021. On this Friday and from the Mukono campus, there was optimism about the institution’s outlook and boosting its revenue.
UCU Vice-Chancellor, Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, unveiled the projects, which are part of a fundraising drive started in late September, during the 21st graduation ceremony as the university enters its 23rd year.
“The first project, which will potentially unlock $10 million worth of infrastructure development, involves construction of a shopping Centre, a three-star hotel, and four blocks of residential halls for 1,000 rooms on the main campus,” Mushengyezi said.
The second project involves the beautification and infrastructure improvement intended to make UCU Main Campus one of the most attractive in East Africa. In 2015, Christianuniverstiesonline.org ranked UCU as among the 50 most beautiful Christian campuses globally.
Mushengyezi said that the University Council has already approved a portion of the projects, which will be implemented in collaboration with private sector partners.
The infrastructure project at the Mukono/main campus includes improvements to the Bishop Tucker Gate; a business centre with a food court; a parking lot; a students’ digital lounge and UCU Information Center. UCU also will construct walkways; install solar lights on the roads within and outside the University; and connect digital screens in buildings for real-time display of time e-tables and e-notices.
The Vice-Chancellor said that UCU also has embarked on a fundraising drive for the construction of the Ordinands Apartment for ordinands and clergy who study at UCU.
Mushengyezi thanked the UCU Chancellor and Church of Uganda Archbishop, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu, for his support for projects and appealed to friends of Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology to provide added assistance.
“All dioceses, organizations and individuals will be listed on a Hall of Fame in the building when it’s completed,” he said. “This will be our priority project for UCU Sunday over the next few years. We thank churches and individuals that have donated funds, and we look forward to contributions from the dioceses from UCU Sunday collections.”
He revealed that Prof. Stephen Noll, the first UCU Vice-Chancellor, had offered to buy a new clock for Bishop Tucker Building and that procurement is also ongoing.
Mushengyezi later took the guests through some of the achievements the different faculties at UCU have posted in the recent past. They included:
- $17,335 grant Bishop Tucker School received via Overseas Council Australia to refurbish the department of theology at Mbale University College Campus;
- School of Dentistry donation (mobilized by the USA-based UCU Partners) worth thousands of dollars through Midmark Corporation in form of dental equipment that included dental suits/chairs; and
- UCU School of Business skills development facility grant through the Private Sector Foundation funded by the World Bank to pioneer a birding course that will strengthen the Bachelor of Hospitality and Tourism program.
The 1,810 students graduating with diplomas and degrees on Friday came from disciplines that include: Theology; Social Work and Social Administration; Public Administration and Management; Law; Environment and Disaster Management; Education; and Development Studies and Public Administration.
The ceremony started with the commissioning service for graduands graced by Archbishop Kaziimba at 10 a.m. Only 80 students, selected for their high academic standing, attended the event physically while others followed it on UCU digital platforms that streamed live. A total of 42 students garnered first class degrees in different disciplines, but with the Faculty of Social Sciences posting the biggest number at 24.
Kaziimba asked the graduands to emulate Jesus on servant leadership. He said: “With servant leadership, there is no need to ask for a seat because we are called not to sit and be served, but to stand and serve others.”
Regarding the forthcoming general elections in Uganda, the Archbishop urged the graduands to exercise Christian influence.
“This is a very important civil duty and I encourage each one of you to vote, and to encourage your peers to also vote,” he said. “As graduates, you have been equipped to think and to analyze issues. Please apply those skills in deciding whom you will vote for. It’s your generation that will help Uganda move to another level in its national development, one that moves peacefully beyond tribalism and overcomes corruption.”
The Rev. Canon Dr. John Senyonyi, who was the guest of honor at the ceremony, urged graduands to remain calm during the ongoing campaign period, to love their country and to honor peoples’ political convictions.
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