President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has admonished graduates of the Episcopal Church-run Cuttington University located in Suakoko District, Bong County to pursue virtue for a productive future for Liberia.
Speaking Saturday, August 5, at the commencement convocation of the Cuttington School of Graduate and Professional Studies (the Master’s program), President Sirleaf challenged the graduates to cultivate a culture of patriotism and nationalism, to declare their independence from greed and corruption and put their country among the comity of nations through excellence in education. She reminded the graduates that the development of Liberia rests on the quality of education the country offers and how it is applied in their communities and families. “I want to encourage you to consider yourselves as the light so that you will shine for your families, communities, and country to benefit because I believe that some of you will steer the affairs of this nation,” President Sirleaf said.
She added, “We agree that there are defying situations in our education system but we hope to overcome these challenges with a clear identity and sense of purpose. In order to retain and enhance our attraction to students in the increasingly competitive environment, we need to offer a compelling educational proposition.”
Addressing students who earned bachelors’ degrees in various professional disciplines on Friday, August 4, at the Cuttington University main campus in Suakoko, Professor Emeritus of the University of Massachusetts Medical School (United States), Dr. Deborah Harmon Hines, informed the graduates that the future of the country is in their hands. Dr. Hines cautioned the graduates to resist greed and corruption, adding, “Corruption and greed are vices that hold the country hostage.”
She said although there are many challenges facing the Liberian educational system, students are still determined to learn in the face of the countless difficulties. “In many schools in Liberia teaching aids are not available. For example, if a teacher is teaching cells, he/she will teach in the absence of a microscope, a laboratory, and other teaching aids but the students are eager to learn,” Dr. Hines said. “Liberia has a rich soil with copious water, but the country uses millions of United States dollars to import rice, the staple food. This country can be the bread basket of West Africa and even export foods to Europe but because of greed and corruption, your country is being held backward.” The medical professor admonished the graduates to be one body with many members and work together for the common purpose of lifting Liberia.
Meanwhile the managing director and chief executive officer of the United Bank for Africa (UBA)-Liberia, Olalekan Balogun, urged the graduates to dream big and cultivate vision for the future. He said with quality education the graduates will be able to cope with challenges they will meet ahead, and admonished them to demonstrate integrity and nationalism. He encouraged them not to be broken down by challenges in the job market, but must see challenges as motivation to thrust forward and disengage from misconceptions and myths that would retard their progress.
On Friday and Saturday, the Episcopal Church run Cuttington University (CU) graduated 727 students in the various professional disciplines. The undergraduate school, which is run on the school’s main campus in Suakoko, graduated 363 students from different disciplines on Friday, August 4. The Cuttington Junior College, which operates in Kakata, Margibi County also put out 46 students with associate degrees in various fields of study. On Saturday, August 5, the Monrovia-run Cuttington School of Graduate and Professional Studies graduated 318 with Master’s degrees in different fields.