The University of Liberia or UL has commenced its 99th Commencement Convocation exercises today at Fendall with Liberia College graduating 611 students earning degrees in various disciplines of the social sciences and humanities.
Launching the occasion, the Dean of Liberia College Associate Professor Sekou W. Konneh, praised the graduates for their achievements and urged them to acknowledge those who supported them throughout their academic sojourn.
In special remarks, 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 auspicious 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’s a milestone to put out 611 graduates, “Dr. Weeks said. “ In 1866 it was just one graduate, James Evans.”
Dr. Weeks encouraged the graduates to come back to the University to support it as it grows in the future, 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.
The UL President used the occasion to disclose 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 added that a proposal for the establishment of the institute would be sent to the UL Board of Trustees for consideration.
Further noting, the UL President said she is reviewing a proposal sent by religious leaders of Liberia to establish a graduate program in honor of Bishop Michael Francis, adding that upon its review the proposal would be sent to the UL Board of Trustees for consideration.
Dr. Weeks than concluded by encouraging the graduates to be honest in all they do as they join the larger society.
At the same, the Liberia College Commencement guest speaker, Mrs. Lucia M. Yallah, an Archivist at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development, challenged the graduates to be critical thinkers and develop a sense of honesty for the good of Liberia by shunning corruption and divisiveness and that impede the development of the country.
“Brighten your light on corruption, mismanagement of public assets, the spirit of division and acts against women. Brighten your light on the Legislature, the Judiciary so that they will see the truth and make good decisions,” she said.
Mrs. Yallah, an alumnae of the University of Liberia, noted that the University of Liberia was established on the basis of developing minds that will hold to the doctrine of honesty and the principles of being bold and standing for the truth.
“The University of Liberia was established to teach honesty, critical thinking, and love for humanity and others,” the guest speaker said.
Mrs. Yallah admonished the graduates to find their voices and put their words into action to inspire positive changes to Liberia, encouraging all female graduates to not limit themselves to whatever roles society will assign them and keep in mind their responsibility to the development of Liberia.
“Every Liberian has a collective responsibility to ensure the country is on the right path, and graduates of Universities are no exception,” she said.
Also speaking at the occasion was student Iris Kou Marto, the valedictorian of Liberia College, and urged her peers “to practically apply the knowledge they acquired from the university over the years wisely to help in the development of Liberia.”
Student Marto said she recognized that knowledge without application is meaningless and told her colleagues that their biggest fulfillment in life will remain in tin air if they fail to apply their education wisely.
“The aptitude and capability to perform in whatever sector you will join depends on the education you gained and how their knowledge is applied,” she said. “Knowledge is a prerequisite for success but without the application of knowledge, success is impossible.”
The commencement convocation today also witnessed the awarding of awards to professors for dedicated services to the University and students who volunteered their time to the university during their studies.
Professors Geetor S. Saydee, Thomas Collins and J. Wil Mannie honored for their dedicated services to the University.
Liberia College commencement is the beginning of a two-week college-based commencement convocation that will witness more than 3,300 students graduating from the University of Liberia.