By Edwin M. Fayia III
A formal closing ceremony of the USAID-funded five year Excellence in Higher Education for Liberian Development (EHELD) was held on Friday at the UL Fendall campus.
The education partnership and development initiatives were implemented by the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) and the Engineering College of the University of Liberia.
At a well-attended closing ceremony, outgoing UL president Dr. Emmett A. Dennis expressed delight with the impressive achievements of the EHELD program at the University of Liberia.
Dr. Dennis also lauded the efforts of the faculty and staff of the Engineering College for their commitment and dedication that have led to putting out quality students.
“If anyone is to be happy about the USAID, RTI and EHELD education program at the UL, I should be considered foremost the happiest person,” Dr. Dennis added.
He extended appreciation to the USAID mission in Liberia and their backup supporters in Washington D.C. for the timely support to the Engineering College.
The current UL president, Dr. Ophelia I. Weeks, said efforts should be exerted to maintain and sustain the program.
Dr. Weeks pledged to improve the quality of faculty, teachers and students of the UL Engineering College in the years to come.
She also recounted that it was during the administration of Dr. Dennis that the EHELD-RTI-USAID program was initiated at the UL and the great transformation that has taken place at Engineering College.
Dr. Weeks also extended gratitude to the multiple support partners including but not limited to the Universities of Michigan, North Carolina and Rutgers, RTI, USAID and many others.
“We now have the responsibility to maintain and sustain the programs initiated by Dr. Dennis and UL administration on the USAID, EHELD and RTI project in the country,” Dr. Weeks said.
She further underscored the need for the support of the faculty and instructors to produce quality students and the general improvement of the UL Engineering College.
For her part, RTI senior economic development specialist and EHELD project manager Dr. Cheryl Doty said she exerted efforts at the EHELD program to upgrade the UL Engineering College.
Dr. Doty added that she is also delighted that she was able to work with the project’s managers and lauded their splendid accomplishments.
The RTI’s economic and development specialist said the Engineering College has the potential to bring greater developments to the UL and Liberia.
In her statement, USAID acting deputy mission director Madam Karen Nelson said such an initiative builds a bridge between the peoples of Liberia and the United States.
Madam Nelson thanked the UL, the Ministry of Education, the Commission on Higher Education and the RTI for their commitment to the USAID, EHELD and RTI project in Liberia.
Madam Nelson stressed the need for the Engineering College to encourage high school students to consider enrolling and study engineering there.
“Now I know that you have the required tools to work with at the Engineering College and I want to encourage you all to work harder in order to maintain and sustain the quality standards already established,” Madam Nelson added.
Encouraging women to study engineering is a difficult task to accomplish, she admitted, and stressed the need for additional efforts to motivate them.
“I am really encouraged by the management structure and would urge the USAID’s investment in vital sectors of education in Liberia,” Madam Nelson concluded.
In separate statements, heads, chairs of departments and other stakeholders thanked USAID and the American government for the financial and professional support over the five-year period.