The authorities of the University of Liberia (UL) have announced the establishment of an Academic Excellence Journalism Award in memory of a statesman, illustrious Liberian, and icon of print journalism in Liberia, Philip N. Wesseh.
The fallen media hero, an alumnus and a part-time instructor at the University of Liberia earned his BA degree in Mass Communication in 2002 and an LLB degree in law. He practiced as a professional journalist for over 40 unbroken years and rose from reporter to managing editor.
Wesseh was one of the “academic stars” at the Department of Communication and Media Studies (formerly Department of Mass Communication) having demonstrated his ability to perform, achieve, and meaningfully excel in scholastic activities, evidenced by achieving high grades and superior performance in his class.
The annual award: “Philip N. Wesseh Academic Excellence Journalism Award” has been established in the Department of Communication and Media Studies at the Prof. Amos C. Sawyer College of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Liberia. Annually, the Dean of the College will bestow on students who academically perform, achieve high distinction and excel in scholastic works the “Philip N. Wesseh Academic Excellence Journalism Award”.
Since 1862, the College has traditionally served students pursuing a full, four-year undergraduate bachelor’s degree in the most exceedingly respected professional academic disciplines. The College has emerged as a center of instruction for undergraduate students in humanities and social sciences education. The college seeks to achieve excellence levels of distinction in teaching, learning and research by transmitting knowledge and understanding that are needed to transform the Liberian society and in the service of the world. The College assists students to stay in the institution and realize their full potential and pays close attention to the progression of students from admission to graduation.
The official pronouncement regarding the establishment of the Philip N. Wesseh Academic Excellence Journalism Award” was made by the Dean of Prof. Amos C. Sawyer College, Prof. Dr. Josephus M. Gray who was authorized by the President of the University, Prof. Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson, Jr. (Due to the UL president's official visit to the United States of America) to officially represent him at the funeral of the fallen Liberia media icon.
According to Gray, the academic award is intended to uphold the legacy of an illustrious journalist and an icon of Print Journalism in Africa, particularly Liberia. He said one way of remembering an illustrious Liberian whose impacts have practically changed millions of people and preserving his legacy is through the establishment of an award.
Also, Gray delivered a touching tribute on behalf of the entire University including the Board of Trustees, President, Vice Presidents, Associate Vice Presidents, Faculty Senate, Alumni, Council of Deans, staff, and the entire student population at the University of Liberia. He extended the UL President Nelson and the entire University family's deepest condolences to the family of the fallen Liberian media hero. He described Wesseh’s death as an irreparable loss to the nation and state, especially the noble journalism profession.
Gray further stated: “Our hearts ache with the loss of Wesseh and we the UL family, send our prayers to the entire Wesseh family, as we honor the life and legacy. “Philip meant so much to the University of Liberia," Gray noted. It is quite painful to say goodbye not because he is going far away but because he is no more. Philip is celebrated today because of his exemplary life on earth. He was a GOOD man, a man with a great heart of service
The tribute reads: “Indeed, Philip N. Wesseh was an icon of journalism in post war Liberia. He had helped elevate the status of journalism from the rather shady and dumping ground for job seekers to a respectable profession.” Dr. Gray told the congregation and the Wesseh’s family that the academic excellence award in journalism is given to an outstanding journalist who contributes to journalism, free press, academia, open society, the University, the community, and human development.
According to Gray, the late Wesseh has left a great stamp in the hearts of many people. He described Wesseh as a good man who won the respect of thousands of Liberians for his adherence to his professionalism, objectivity, balance, and facts and above all was trustworthy. He took his role seriously, and practically changed everyone who passed through his arms at The INQUIRER newspaper. His life was well spent, and his influence on everyone will forever remain.