Dr. Ophelia Weeks Named 14th UL President

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The search for a new president of the University of Liberia finally came to an end on April 27, when the institution’s Board of Trustees endorsed Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks as its 14th president.

She replaces Dr. Emmet Dennis who retired last December.

Before her election Dr. Weeks, an outstanding neuroscientist, was UL’s Vice President for Academic Affairs.  She has held administrative positions in the university since 2012. She was Dean of the T. J. R. Faulkner College of Science and Technology.

Dr. Weeks becomes the second woman to lead the UL since its founding in 1951. She follows the late Dr. Mary Antoinette Brown Sherman who, in 1978, made history in Liberia and Africa by becoming the first female president of a university on the continent of Africa.

Other women who have served as university presidents in Liberia are the late Dr. Louise York, African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU) in Monrovia, and Dr. Elizabeth Davies, president of the Tubman University in Harper, Cape Palmas, Maryland County.

Although Dr. Dennis has stepped down from the UL presidency, he will remain at the university, dividing his time between teaching medical students at the A. M. Dogliotti College of Medicine and undergraduate students of the T. J. R. Faulkner College of Science and Technology.

A release from the UL said Dr. Weeks has had a long history with UL, going back to her childhood when, from age seven, she resided with her family on the Capitol campus in Richardson Cottage, during the presidency of her father Rocheforte who became the third, but first Liberian president of UL.

Ophelia once told the Daily Observer, “I have lived on a university campus practically all my life.”  Following her graduation with honors from the College of West Africa (CWA), she also lived on the UL campus as a resident freshman student.

As an academic, Dr. Weeks’ relationship with the UL actually began to take shape in 2006 when she served as a guest lecturer of first year medical students at A. M. Dogliotti.

She returned in 2007 as a visiting professor to teach neuroanatomy and again in 2011 spent six months at UL during her sabbatical from the Florida International University, her parent university in the USA.

During that period, she served as technical advisor to the Dean of UL’s Medical College, and also taught an HIV/AIDS course to first and second year medical students, and an undergraduate version of the course to second year non-science majors.

In 2012, Dr. Weeks returned from the Florida International University to assist UL’s rebuilding efforts, during which time she was recruited to serve as the Dean of the College of Science and Technology.

Dr. Weeks has more than 30 years of experience working in academia. In 1986, she was hired as a tenure-track assistant professor in the Biological Science Department at Florida International University in Miami, where she rose through the ranks to full time professor. She retired with honors in January 2017, after 30 years of service, during which period she received numerous awards.

Authors

33 COMMENTS

  1. So what else is new? This has been an open secret for months while the university carried out the charade of interviewing other candidates. We all know that this administration seem to be in love with the Weeks clan. Public works LTA, the Central Bank, Water and Sewer. Other capable candidates were all brushed aside to make way for another Weeks. The university has become the place retired administrators from abroad come to settle. We now have to wait for retirees to come get jobs that our people who are here are capable of doing. Well, no congratulations from me. Once again this president has shown that friendship ties to one family is creating a favored dynasty.

    • If the president has that much sway over members of the university board as you allude to here, an amalgamation of characters who ought to be a paragon or model for boards in the country, then only the heavens could save us. But I will cast my lot with the integrity and independence of that board versus any baseless, assailable, frivolous and ill-founded speculation in the interim. After all some of us just happen to be quite familiar with the opportunism often undergirding those self-centered “criticisms.” So help us God! …Carpe diem!

    • You sir are an ass did you not see the list of accomplishments and accolades dr weeks has? Maybe they get their positions not because of friendships but because they work hard? Show me someone as qualified as dr weeks in fact any of the weeks family that hold a position before you talk then you can say its unfair

      • Mr. Concerned, I can name some right now: Dr. Elliot Wreh-Wilson, Dr. George Kieh, but they do not have the magic formula – the “correct last name.” So those accomplishments are not unique. And being a resident freshman at LU is not an accomplishment. And since you asked, show me what degree besides an honorary doctorate Kimmie Weeks have to sit on the board of Water and Sewer. he spent his time abroad talking about he was a refugee. I doubt he had to go through the bush or look for food. No, his exodus as a refugee happened on a plane leaving Liberia. Stop talking mess and see the reality. The Weeks are a privileged class and beloved of Ellen, case closed.

  2. Yallah I think Alex means why put other candidates through the foolishness of applying for a job when the president always decides. I myself know several reputable people who applied. Yet it was an open secret more than two months ago that the president was going to name Weeks This is not the way to do things. The committee are too scared to go against her wishes.

    • The act of extending the interview opportunity to all candidates was in no way “foolishness” as you described. That’s the convention everywhere, to short list or accord all interested candidates the privilege of an interview and then choose the best from that crop. Public institutions especially are obligated to do just that. I too, know of colleagues who applied for that position. But remember the final decision regarding that choice rested squarely with the university board, not the president. And as indicated above, if that board acquiesced that prerogative to the president, then woe unto it. But I am convinced the current university board would not surrender such envious fiduciary responsibility to any others. I could be wrong. …Carpe diem!

      • Ok, I am not sure where start with your argument Mr. Yallah. The point people are raising is why another Weeks? Don’t you get it? This family is all over the map in Liberia with corruption allegations and that gave a lot Liberians to think “Why Them”?

        I don’t want to go below the belt, but is it because the President just selected your wife as one of her cabinet ministers (Assistant or something)?

        • So… She should be disqualified because of her name?

          This family from all accounts appears to be extremely educated and committed to Liberia.

          What your suggesting is that regardless of qualifications, we should bar them from public service because of their name?

          Please explain your logic here.

          • Yes they are so committed in looting the resources of Liberia. The Weeks has nothing to claim besides corruption allegations. Chattering plane to take s sicken mother to Europe is not a commitment to Liberia, it’s commitment to the Weeks and nothing but the Weeks. As you have learned, one of the Weeks had chatter for medical attention when Liberians can’t afford to pay their doctors for the masses.
            One of the problems with these cougar people is they are so arrogant event as more people die in miseries.

  3. Congratulations, Ophelia. I have always been proud of you for your outstanding achievements. I am delighted to know that the University of Liberia will be in good hands.
    May God bless you in all your endeavors, along with good health and happiness.

  4. I don’t care who is president so long that person is qualified. My main concern for UL is the campus doesn’t look anything like a top university. The buildings look dilapidated and the grounds very unattractive. The campus needs a real good facelift. Apparently Liberians don’t care about aesthetics anymore.

  5. Dr. Elliott Wreh-Wilson – Doctor of Philosophy, Boston University, 1994; Instructor University Liberia, Monrovia, 1981—1988. Associate professor Edinboro University Pennsylvania, since 1994; Author _ Beginning African Philosophy: The Case for African Philosophy- Past to Present – Dean, College of Arts and Sciences and Coordinator, Graduate Studies and Research at Tubman University; returned home to work. Elliott Wreh-Wilson received his BA in philosophy from St. Paul’s Seminary in Liberia and his MA and PhD in philosophy from Boston College and Boston University respectively. He began his teaching career at the University of Liberia and worked as Associate Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. He is also the author of Race, Rights and Commonsense. ;

    George Kieh – born in Harbel, Firestone. attended the University of Liberia – a bachelor of arts degree in political science – continued his education in the United States at Northwestern University in Illinois where he earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in political science. -worked at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan as a Professor of Political Science, He served as the Dean of the Political Science Department – he specialized in developing countries, conflict, and African Politics. -Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia.

    Michael Wannah – Michael Wannah, PhD, joined the faculty of Concordia University Chicago in 2009. Today he serves the university and the students he teaches as an associate professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Diversity.

    Michael Wannah has expertise in areas of English language learning, multicultural education, education policy, education policy in African countries.PhD, Cultural and Educational Policy Studies, Loyola University Chicago, Ill. Dissertation: “An Analysis of Policy Documents on the Involvement of Parents in the Formal Education of their Children: The Liberian and Sierra Leonean Situations.”
    MA, Curriculum and Instruction, English as a Second Language, National Louis University, Chicago, IL, (in progress).
    Certificate, Teaching English as a Second Language, National Louis University, Chicago, Ill., Illinois Resource Center (IRC).
    Graduate Certificate, Community College Learning and Teaching, Loyola University Chicago, Ill.
    Master, Religious Education, Loyola University Chicago, Ill.
    BA, (Magna cum Laude), Missionary Catechesis and Religious Education, Urban Pontifical University, Rome, Italy.

  6. The University of Liberia faces a lot of challenges up to date and it is my hope that under your watchful eye as president of the University of Liberia, you will raise the academic standard and improve the learning environment. It sadden me that we have refused to invest into the needed technology to things especially student online registration. Please insure that the University is up to standard and make use of technology to make work efficient and effective. # Time# To# Innovate####

  7. One more thought…

    The people complaining that too many members of this family are public servants, are actually suggesting that a person’s name should preclude them from public service, regardless of qualification?
    I suppose then that the children of these men and women should also refrain from aspiring to contribute to the Liberian public sector? This argument makes ZERO Sense to me,and unfortunately reads more like jealousy.

    I am much more appreciative of Sonny boy’s list of potential candidates who (I presume) were also considered for the position. What I notice, however, between Dr. Weeks and the others, is the breadth of positions she has held within a university.
    Yes, I see all have worked as professors and dean’s, and are on that point ALL EQUAL. However, Dr. Weeks appears to be the only one who has worked in university administration. I would believe being president of the university is much different than being a professor, or even a dean?

    Also, her role prior to ascension to President, was the #2 position at UL. Is it not a very routine process for #2 to become #1? Where is the outrage coming from? I would really like to understand this furor. But if your response is, look at her last name, please find another argument before responding.

    • Fact Finder, then perhaps Kimmie Week must know a lot about bringing water to the people of Liberia. NOT! There is no jealously just amazement that this president seems to be so in love with this family. Do you really think that there were not others more qualified?

    • You’re not getting it. This is about perception, the same reason we had April 12, 1980, the same reason Sgt. Doe was overthrown, the same reason you and I and many other Liberians had run for the lives and seek refuge here in the States and other parts of the world. The same reason millions of Liberians have been slaughtered.

      What’s about this perception you don’t get?

      Liberians – enough is enough!!!

  8. One important thing that isn’t on her resume and the university needed the most is fundraising. UL needs someone with impressive fundraising records who can make things happened. This is another status quo from bamboo family

  9. Kimmie Weeks graduated Cum Laude from Amherst College ranked #2 by U. S. News in the 2017 edition. Kimmie EARNED a Masters from the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania. He went on to Yale University, another Ivy League and earned a Certificate in Global Policy and Practice. He followed up with a Certificate in Leadership from Ivy League Harvard University. (BTW these were earned with his own blood sweat and tears and without a penny from the Liberian Government). As a kid he wrote to me in America and said if he could only drive a taxi he would save enough money to pay for his college education. I still have that letter today, because it showed me his determination. You were not there when he started by working double shifts at McDonalds and any old job, while going to school, earning A+ and researching every available scholarship. His highest achievement is not the degree or the acknowledgement but the fact that he love Liberia and kept his promise to return home and help the people he left in poverty. Kimmie’ s work in Liberia started before he was 30. When his classmates were heading to Wall Street he was knocking on the doors of American foundations for educators, supplies, health aid and leading them into Liberia when folks were still afraid to set food in our country. This was long before he was appointed to the Water and Sewer Board of Directors. You have never seen him owning a big house or huge bank account. That’s because he pours his resources into his work and BTW he’s working three jobs. Kimmie will continue to work for ALL the people of Liberia despite folks like you who throw out criticism at every opportunity. Rebuilding Liberia should be all hands on deck regardless of an appointment. If you recognize a need, create a plan, implement it and move forward. Dare to dream and make your own dream a reality. The roadblock is the one you place in your own path. We all have it in us to be our best and do our best for ourselves and others.
    Mrs. Smith (Kimmie’s sister)

  10. So he has a degree in water and sewer management? Is it three govt. jobs? You cannot tell me the last name did not help. Not a penny from the government but he was given those because he was a LIberian national in the time of war. many did get scholarships and fellowships from universities abroad precisely because they were displaced Liberians.Others have suffered also, have brought needed supplies into the country and none have been rewarded with a high govt. job. patriotism is its own reward.

    • Please let’s give examples. You are talking in hypotheticals here. Using imaginary people and calling them equally deserving of the man’s success.

      His sister laid out his credentials, history, and experience.

      You name a person, with similar credentials, equally deserving, who has received nothing in return after returning to Liberia with hope to serve.

      If these people exist, let’s advocate for them and get them into positions deserving of their sacrifice, and jobs where they can serve Liberia in the public sector. Our Country WILL BENEFIT FROM THIS, so I earnestly request:

      The names and accolades of these Liberians who have been unable to obtain the success they deserve…. Because they didn’t have the right last name.

      Otherwise, sit down.

  11. Wait now, Chartering a plane for their ma is a bad thing because many Liberians can’t afford to pay for doctors???? This is the Proof of their wicked ways and shows they do not love Liberia???

    So because Person A can’t afford something, Person B should not be allowed to have it either?

    According to your logic, all the people admitted at JFK, SOS, or any hospital across the Country should be released without care, because there are people in New Kru town or West point who can’t afford to pay for THEIR family to receive health care.

    All Liberians, regardless of whether they can afford treatment or medicine for sick family members, should instead allow their family people die, and donate that money to this imaginary fund that will eventually provide health care for all.
    DO YOU NOT SEE THE ABSURDITY OF YOUR REASONING?

    I am hesitant to continue responding, because I do not know Dr. Weeks and cannot vouch that she is truly worthy of this position, and do not wish to be considered “Pro-Weeks”.

    I am however pro FACTS, and unless someone can present facts or AT LEAST some reasonable reason as to why we should be upset about this hiring, I see no reason a university’s VP of Academic Affairs becoming President should warrant this noise.

    God save our country, oh! The ignorance I am reading on this page is mind blowing.

  12. When the congau people do the native people wrong and they talk about it, some of our own country people come right back arguing in favour of the congau people and even insulting. What make anyone thinks that the Weeks people are the smartest families in Liberia? No one can doubt it, they are family friends of Ellen Johnson. Do you know how many people with native background who have Phd that applied for that job? Former Public Works Minister Anthonette Weeks beat people up in the church on the Old Road because she felt that the church was causing noise in the community, what did Ellen do to her?

  13. the people who are talking crap here about the great Dr. Kimmie Weeks either do not know him or are jealous of him. Dr. Weeks is by far one of the most intellectual personalities of our time both educationally and achievements. If you do not know him, the white man created something called google. check it because the next time yiu say stupid things about this son of the soil i will have to slap you. foolish people.

  14. I’m new to this paper and enjoyed reading the article. I also enjoyed reading the comments and respects everyone’s points of view. As someone who has worked in K12 education here in the US in all capacity for the past 16 years and hoping to relocate back to Liberia in 4 years after retirement, I wonder if this level of discourse is happening in all aspects of our society? I hope so. Because if we are to move forward as a people, we need to have these difficult conversations and Hopefully remain respectful and civil. We are to have these conversations also at the grassroots level. That’s just my two cents

  15. Can someone tell us the present world ranking of the University of Liberia?

    Can someone tell us the the ranking of the University of Liberia among African universities?

    Can someone tell us the University of Liberia ranking among West African (ECOWAS) universities?

    And, can someone tell us the university of Liberia among MRU univeristies?

    You see, all the Phd’s and advanced degrees our Liberians have their achievements and impact on the development of Liberia and advancement of humanity is almost nonexistent. What is the noise about?

    Look at our Harvard educated president and compare her out put and accomplishmenta in 12 years to those of High school educated J.J. Rawlings of Ghana and Paul Kahane if Rwanda, for example.

    • E. Moore; Corrections! J.J. Rawlings is far beyond high school education. His training as an Air Force Jet Pilot, put him in the same rank as someone with a MASTER DEGREE. J.J. Rawlings was trained in Great Britain, to fly some of the World’s most advanced Aircraft. One has to be far beyond High School to qualify.

  16. I’m neither pro nor con in this matter. Each side have made some strong points. Agree or not; in life, sometimes breed does matter. I’ve seen it all during my
    Working life-qualified people are sometimes overlooked. Believe it; or not.

  17. Ha ha ha I’m very satisfy with comments made by all Liberian in this wonderful weeks public interest as many are saying. 4 me I have nothing much to say in this matter b’cuz what will saying do change the mind of the president or the university board? Not, well both parties are all correct some are speaking in the interest of those who are reconise b’cuz of their names and again some are also speaking in the case where one had done all their work abroad and being retired and decided to come n use the university as their resting and retirement base , why other are speaking not 4 the name sake but the qualification of the individual whom we speak of b’cuz every human seek the best and betterness for their country. To be greatful I really enjoy the comments and views or arquement of u guys. I hope to always be part and enjoy the arquement again.

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