Liberia: CWA Global Alumni Refurbish Cox Memorial Building

The refurbished Cox Building at CWA, Monrovia. 

The College of West Africa Global Alumni Association (CWAGAA) has renovated and turned over the Melville B. Cox Memorial Building to the Board of Trustees and Administration of the institution. 

The cost of the renovations, according to CWAGAA President, is approximately US$50,000.

The ceremony, which took place on at the school hall, brought together hundreds of alumni from the classes of 1970, 78, 79, 93, 80, and 74 including the GSA Director-General Mary Broh, former CBL Executive Governor Milton Weeks; NASSCORP Director-General Dewitt von Ballmoos, and LRA Deputy Commissioner-General Decontee King-Sackie, respectively. 

The colourful event was also attended by Reverend Samuel J.Quire, Resident Bishop of the Liberia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Reverend Dr. Julius Y.K.Z. Williams, pastor of the First United Methodist Church, as well as students, and other guests. 

Speaking at the turning over ceremony, James M. Weeks, Jr., President of the CWAGAA told the audience that CWA has lost its place of prominence among secondary schools for many reasons. 

“When I was a student at CWA, there were four regular funding sources that operated the school: The Liberia Annual Conference, the Board of the Global Missions of the United Methodist Church, tuition and subsidy from the government, which every institution in the country received. Today, CWA has only one funding source: tuition,” he noted.

He claimed that lack of funding and resources has brought CWA to this perilous juncture in its rich history. 

“Having produced many leaders of our beloved country, in all levels of public and private enterprise, CWA light now flickers very dimly,” the CWAGAA president added.  

Weeks, a member of the class of 1974, disclosed that “in 1832, Cox left his home in Raleigh, NC setting sail to shores just a few miles away from where we sit, to die within four months.” 

He further told his colleagues that the CWAGAA, organized in February 2021, connects alumni all around the world, to give back to their alma mater. 

According to him, the Cox Memorial Building had become abysmally unsustainable for proper instruction. The roof, he said, urgently needed repair. 

“Rain was pouring into the building, with buckets placed in classrooms to collect the water. The ceilings were fraught with mildew. The electrical wiring in the entire building needed replacement. The only generator available needed repair. With the meager resources available to the administration of CWA, it is true dedication to the students and grit that allowed them to persevere under such extreme conditions.”

In the past year, Weeks announced that the global alumni association has completed the following renovations on the Cox Memorial Building: repaired the roof, installed new ceilings throughout, completed the electric rewiring, installed light fixtures throughout the building, painted the interior and exterior as well as restored the windows.

He, however, disclosed that the Weeks Educational and Social Advocacy was instrumental in securing a donation of furniture for the whole school. According to him, “approximately 400 students’ desks, 275 stackable chairs (you're sitting in them now), 130 folding chairs, and other school furniture” were delivered to CWA last September. 

“It is estimated that the purchase cost of the furniture would be more than US$100,000, which Global paid approximately US$16,500 for freight.  Individual class donations: for a new generator, fans in the building, older wooden chairs, replaced 23 doors and all door locks, smart TVs, scholarships, etc, total approximately $25,000. 

“To date, our CWA Global Community has given back approximately $90,000 to our alma mater. CWA alumni, you deserve a huge round of applause. Without your generosity, none of this would be possible.” 

With a great smile on the faces of the Board of Trustees and the CWA school administration, Weeks said the renovations are just a drop in the bucket. All improvements thus far have been non-academic. However, the children do need a safe and comfortable learning environment,” said Weeks. 

However, Cox’s dedication, focus, and sacrifice were the impetus for this great institution, the CWA.

Weeks said Reverend Melville B. Cox is not setting sail again to fix CWA. He has done his part. The task now falls on us, alumni of this school, to meet the challenge and begin the process to “fix us”. “We must fix us. We can not sit complacently waiting on others to fix us.” 

Earlier in remarks, Rev. Paye Cooper Mondolo, president of the CWA, expressed gratitude to the Global Alumni Association for making the institution great. 

He also assured the CWAGAA that the staff and students of the institution stand committed and willing to work along with the alumni to make the college great and better again. 

Rev. Mondolo promised the members of the CWA Global Alumni Association that the building will be well taken care of to ensure that the investments do not go in vain. 

According to him, the CWA is solely operating from tuition, which makes it very difficult to operate its school properly. 

Also, speaking, Reverend Dr. Julius Y.K.Z. Williams, a pastor of the First United Methodist Church, pledged support to work with the CWA family to make the school second to none in Liberia. 

For his part, Reverend Samuel J. Quire, Resident Bishop of the Liberia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, expressed appreciation to the CWAGAA for giving back to their alma mater.

He told them that it is always a good thing to look back where they came from so, “I’d like to take this time to say thank you to the CWAGAA for the milestone project.”