The University of Liberia (UL) has commenced its 99th Commencement Convocation exercises yesterday at Fendall with Liberia College graduating 611 students earning degrees in various disciplines, including the Social Sciences and Humanities.
The occasion was launched by the Dean of Liberia College Associate Professor Sekou W. Konneh, who praised the graduates for their achievements, but urged them to acknowledge those who supported them throughout their academic sojourn.
The president of the university, Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks, thanked the 99th Convocation Committee for the build-up that led to the successful hosting of the occasion, and thanked everyone for taking up the time to join the university in celebration.
“Liberia College was founded in 1862 to provide leaders of a new Republic, and a developing Republic and today it is a milestone to put out 611 graduates,” Dr. Weeks said while remembering James Evans, the only graduate of the college in 1866.
Dr. Weeks then encouraged the graduates to return to the university to support it future academic programs when the need arises, reminding them of the uniqueness of their college as the oldest in the country, and the prestige that goes with coming out of the nation’s premier university.
She disclosed plans to add an Institute of Comparative Religion, Philosophy and Culture to the university as efforts to award degrees in Philosophy and Religious Studies are nearing completion, and that a proposal for the establishment of the institute would be sent to the UL Board of Trustees for consideration.
Dr. Weeks said she is reviewing a proposal the country’s religious leaders advanced to establish a graduate program in honor of the late Bishop Michael Francis, who was born on February 12, 1936 in Kakata District, now political capital of Margibi County, died on May 19, 2013, while serving as the Archbishop Emeritus of Monrovia in the Roman Catholic Church. She said upon its review, the proposal will be sent to the UL Board of Trustees for consideration.
Dr. Weeks reminded the graduates to be honest in all they do as they join the larger society.
Yesterday’s commencement speaker, Mrs. Lucia M. Yallah, an Archivist at former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Presidential Center for Women and Development, challenged the graduates to be critical thinkers to develop a sense of honesty for the good of Liberia by shunning corruption, and divisiveness that would impede the development of the country.
“Brighten your light on corruption, mismanagement of public assets, the spirit of division and acts against women; your light on the Legislature, the Judiciary so that they will see the truth, and make good decisions,” she said.
Mrs. Yallah, an alumnae, said that the UL was established to develop minds that will hold to the doctrine of honesty and the principles of being bold and standing for the truth.
“The UL was established to teach honesty, critical thinking, and love for humanity and others,” she said, while admonishing the graduates to find their voices, and put their words into action to inspire positive changes, encourage all female graduates to not limit themselves to whatever roles society will assign unto them, and keep in mind their responsibility to the country’s development.
“Every Liberian has a collective responsibility to ensure the country is on the right path, and graduates of universities are no exception,” she said.
Iris Kou Martor, the valedictorian of Liberia College, urged her colleagues to practically apply the knowledge they acquired over the years wisely to develop the country.
Martor then recognized that knowledge without application is meaningless, and therefore informed her colleagues that their biggest fulfillment in life will remain in tin air if they failed to apply their education wisely.