The outgoing president of Cuttington University, Dr. Henrique Tokpa, has called on alumni and friends to extend financial support to the university or else it will lose its hard earned status as a reputable institution.
Dr. Tokpa gave the words of warning during an honoring program organized for him by the university’s alumni association on October 11.
The university no longer receives much support from the Episcopal Church in the United States, stated Dr. Tokpa.
He said the Liberian government on the other hand has reduced its subsidy to the institution, noting that besides tuition fees there is no other source of support to address CU’s financial challenges.
The action by government to reduce the school’s subsidy was based upon the notion that the institution is private since it collects tuition from students.
He argued that more private institutions are in the country molding the minds of Liberians than are public schools, and yet the Liberian government wants to use privatization as an excuse to strangulate Cuttington University.
He said the rubber plantation that could augment the financial strength of the institution can no longer help as the price of rubber has dropped on the world market.
He disclosed that at a point in time during the deepening financial crisis, he had to call on his wife to provide US$25,000 to run the institution.
Dr. Tokpa acknowledged that Cuttington owes staff and other workers, and warned that if the salary issues are not addressed they may lead to strike action, which would impede the progress of the university.
“Cuttington uses 30 to 40 gallons of fuel per hour, and because government feels that we are a private institution it has cut off the quantity of fuel it supplied to the university,” he disclosed.
He said as a result of the financial crisis, tuition had to be increased to a level many students cannot afford.
He disclosed that since his children are in the United States, he uses money he receives here for scholarships to help students in need.
He lauded two alumni, Kenneth Y. Best and Benoni Urey, for their scholarship assistance to the school.
Dr. Tokpa frowned on the government’s failure to prioritize education to the fullest as evidenced by the lack of textbooks, laboratory equipment and other essential instructional supplies.
He said that at a stakeholders’ meeting in Japan where a Liberian delegation was expected to discuss health and education, the discussions instead centered on roads and other issues.
He said his primary reason for contesting the senatorial election last year was to advocate for education so that attention can be drawn to it.
Dr. Tokpa spent 13 years as president of Cuttington University.
Earlier known as Cuttington University College (CUC) the institution became a full fledge university during the administration of Dr. Tokpa.
It was also during his administration that a Graduate School was attached to the university and the establishment of a junior college in Kakata, Margibi County.
In recognition of his long tenure of service to the university, the Cuttington Alumni Association presented Dr. Tokpa with gifts, including a custom made speaker stand, certificate of appreciation and several valuable items.
Dr. Tokpa, who is himself an alumnus of the Class of ‘76, was praised by the enthusiastic alumni members for serving the university with distinction.
The president of the association, Mr. Charles Allen, said, “Leadership in its true definition is challenge. It is a blessing for any leader who has a smooth ride, but a leader with challenges who still succeeds is favored of the Lord. Response to challenge is the point to consider in addressing leadership challenges.”