Ahead of this year’s 100th commencement convocation exercise, the Vice President for University Relations at the University of Liberia, Atty Norris Tweah has announced the launch of the ‘Centennial Commencement’ at the University of Liberia Fendall Campus.
The launch which, according to Mr. Tweah, is expected to take place on Monday, March 11 will be held under the theme, “Memory, Preservation and the Way Forward.” The Centennial Commencement convocation will be the 100th graduation exercise since its foundation in 1951.
According to him, the purpose of the launch is to celebrate the University’s achievements over the years since its foundation and further dedicate what he called a time capsule, where those who will be the custodian after the one hundred years will be able to imagine these historical events.
He said the December 2019 commencement will mark a historical moment at the University of Liberia; as such, it has all the reasons to celebrate ahead of its 100th graduation exercises.“We are not going to wait for December to celebrate, we are going to re-enact the first graduation of 1866, when the first student graduated, but that will be in a modern way come December, when we will re-awaken the history of this University,” he noted.
He recalled that, between 1866 and 2018, so much happened that was worth celebrating as a university and as a country because UL is the nation’s highest institution of learning. He said in 1951 Liberia College was founded but later on, transitioning to what is known today as the University of Liberia. He stated that since 1951 the UL has played a very pivotal role in educating young men and women in the country. This needs to be remembered for the University’s contributions to Liberia and Africa’s development.
Tweah stressed the need for the institution to reflect and recognize its historical achievements, adding that, prior to the Liberian civil war, UL was also a role model in West African education, where students from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana and other parts of the continent flocked to the UL to acquire higher education.
He further recalled that in 1905 the first group of women graduated from the University and therefore the university’s contributions to society cannot be overemphasized. The event, he said, is expected to bring together members of the alumni community, current students, faculty and President George Weah, is also expected to grace the occasion.
“It is important to note that one of the things that Dr. Ophelia Weeks intends doing is visioning the university, in terms of finding the way forward and for the UL to be ranked among the first twenty Universities in West Africa in the next seven years,” he stated.
Over the years UL has prepared well-qualified men and women for teaching, research, public and private service, and also to contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals for sustainable human development. Some historical facts about the foundation of UL.
“It may also be recalled that in 1850, a group of individuals gathered together in the United States of America for the purpose of investing in education in Africa, especially in Liberia.
“The group called itself the Trustee of the Nation for Education in Liberia (TNIWL). This group began to solicit philanthropic and financial contributions.
“During President Joseph Jerkins Roberts administration TNIWL wrote him of its investment in Africa, particularly in Liberia, and when he heard the news, he replied, ‘I am deeply delighted and this subject has given me great concern.’ President Roberts, according to history, was greatly concerned about his country and wanted more men and women educated to contribute to the growth and development of the country. And he considered this as a new era that has dawned upon Liberia,” he said.
He added “In 1851 with several financial contributions the Liberia College was founded and the Liberia National Legislature enacted it into law and then the first building was dedicated in 1862 which was an elaborate event. In 1863 the first class started and in 1866 the first student graduated.”