The Director of Public Relations, Prince Valentine Simpson, has confirmned to the Daily Observer that more than 721 students who have completed their respective academic disciplines will be graduating from the Cuttington University in Suakoko, outside Gbarnga in Bong County on Saturday, July 30.
Cllr. N. Oswald Tweh, Managing Director of Pierre, Tweh and Associate Incorporated, has been selected as keynote speaker for the 55th Commencement Convocation.
Mr. Simpson said the Convocation will take place at the university’s main campus in Suakoko.
Of the prospective graduates, 308 will come from the Graduate School and Professional Studies, 385 from the undergraduate program, while 28 of them will come from the Junior College in Kakata, Margibi County.
A special ceremony marking the official end of Dr. Evelyn Kandakai’s interim presidency of the college was held yesterday on the CU campus in Suakoko, where she formally turned over authority to the incoming president, Rev. Dr. Hermon Browne, former Dean of Trinity Cathedral.
The Baccalaureate Service, which was held on Sunday July 24 also on the Suakoko campus was attended by several high profile individuals including a number of lawmakers, some of who sponsored ‘wards’ among the graduating class.
Rev. Fr. Slewion P. Lewis, an Episcopal Priest, delivered the Sermon on the theme, “God Can Use the Ordinary to Accomplish the Extraordinary.”
He assured the prospective graduates that God can turn the useless into usefulness; use anybody to accomplish His purpose to prosperity, adding, “One does not have to come from a certain class of people to be used to do remarkable things.”
As a CU alumnus, Rev. Lewis challenged the prospective graduates to press on, “because God can use anyone to become an achiever in academia or at any level of the society.”
In 1889, the Episcopal Church in Cape Palmas founded Cuttington Collegiate and Divinity School on the southernmost tip of Liberia. The School was named for Robert Fulton Cutting, treasurer of the Board of Missions of the Episcopal Church in the United States, who in 1885 donated to
Bishop Samuel D. Ferguson, then Bishop of Liberia, US$ 5,000 to purchase a land on which to build a school. The primary purpose of the money was for the establishment of a manual labor farm, which should afford opportunities for practical instruction of boys in the mission schools and at the same time serve as a pattern for others.
On February 22, 1889, Bishop Ferguson laid the cornerstone of the first building and named it Epiphany Hall. At the time, Cuttington admitted only men. The students came from all parts of the country and also from other West African countries. The enrollment was limited to about 100 and standards of admission and achievement were high.
Rev. M.P.K. Valentine, M.A., was the First President of Cuttington Collegiate and Divinity School. The College awarded its first two certificates of proficiency in 1909 and was incorporated to give diplomas and grant degrees in 1922.
Until 1929, when it was forced to close down for financial reasons, the College played an important role in providing classical education to Liberians and other Africans.
In 1949, Cuttington was re-opened through the instrumentality of the late Bishop Bravid W. Harris, then Bishop of Liberia, as a four-year co-educational Liberal Arts College, and re-named Cuttington College and Divinity School. Through the assistance of Dr. William V.S. Tubman, President of Liberia (1944-1971), the Liberian Government donated to the Episcopal Church 1,500 acres of rich agricultural land at Suakoko, Bong County, for the purpose of establishing a College.
Cuttington University College, so re-named in 1977, was made up of six degree granting Colleges: Education, Humanities, Social Science, Natural Science, Nursing and Theology, with plans to add more academic programs.