Mr. Johnson N. Gwaikolo was yesterday inducted into office as the new president of the United Methodist University (UMU) during a thanksgiving program held at the First United Methodist Church on Ashmun and Gurley Streets.
Reverend Dr. John G. Innis, Resident Bishop of the Liberia Annual Conference (LAC) and Chairman of the Board of Directors of UMU urged the newly inducted president to uphold the values of the institution.
According to Bishop Innis, the decision to appoint Mr. Gwaikolo to the position met the approval of the Board of Directors and was supported by Mr. Gwaikolo’s performance over the past one year when he served as interim president of the institution.
The induction ceremony was witnessed by an array of government officials including the director-general for the National Commission on Higher Education, Dr. Michael Slawon as well as UMU students.
“We want to encourage Mr. Gwaikolo and his team to give their best, because this is a Christian institution. We want to build friendships and ensure that this university grows,” Bishop Innis admonished.
He encouraged the president to be idealistic and a motivational leader to ensure that the students and faculty participate in the growth of the university.
“We want you to be the ethical standard bearer of the university. Our students should be competent and outspoken. This is the fastest growing university in Liberia with over 5,000 students,” Bishop Innis recorded.
Mr. Gwaikolo is the fourth president of the university who Bishop Innis has expressed the Board of Directors’ confidence in to lead the institution.
For his part, Mr. Gwaikolo called on the religious department of the university including the bishop to pray with him for God’s guidance, protection and wisdom in the forward march of running the affairs of the institution.
The UMU, he said, is generally charged with the responsibility to impart knowledge to those who desire it.
Beyond that, said Gwaikolo, it has a specific duty to provide quality education in a dynamic environment where innovation, openness, and creativity are captured, thereby producing intellectual and God fearing individuals which distinguishes UMU from other universities in the country.
He said his ascendency as the fourth president of the university marks a new era of the institution, which begins the transformation process with courtesy.
He lauded past leaders, including Rev. Dr. Emmanuel F. Billy for laying the foundation upon which current and future leaders will build.