Knowledge and experience sharing as we bid farewell to Makerere University’s Chancellor: Prof. Mondo Kagonyera
During the late hours of the day Thursday October 22, 2015, the Makerere University School of Public Health hosted an interactive knowledge and experience sharing evening in honor of Makerere University Chancellor, Professor Mondo Kagonyera, whose 8-year term as Chancellor ends tomorrow October 23 2015. This was held at the Kampala Serena, Pearl of Africa Restaurant. It was enriching listening to the great Makerere University Dons and Alumni including; Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda, Prof. John Ddumba Ssentamu, the Vice Chancellor Makerere University, Prof. Charles, the Principal Makerere University College of Health Sciences and Prof. William Bazeyo, the Dean Makerere University School of Public Health and RAN Chief of Party/Lab Director, among others. All thanked Prof. Kagonyera for his selfless leadership while in service at the higher institution of learning. They were joined by the university faculty and Prof. Kagonyera’s immediate family.
Being a parent to Makerere University and in this case the School of Public Health, it was both a piece of joy and sadness to bid farewell to the Makerere University Chancellor Prof. Kagonyera. It is joyous because we all have hope that he will now have even more time for Makerere University as a Senior Advisor and on the other hand sad that he is moving on and may likely take on additional duties and responsibilities which in one way or the other may keep him away from this higher institution of learning.
The journey with Prof. Kagonyera has been an enriching one with great opportunity to learn from such a talented and all-round citizen. Each engagement with Prof. Kagonyera however small, has been a great opportunity to all those who interacted with him. “Whenever he is amidst us, all of us do not look forward to the time he is bidding us farewell” shared Dr. Noah Kiwanuka, Faculty at the School of Public Health. We have been comforted by the saying that “All good things must come to an end”, we have no doubt that Prof. Kagonyera will be of great service elsewhere! At the School of Public Health students, faculty and the entire community have been fortunate to have had the golden opportunity to tap into Prof. Kagonyera’s depth and wealth of knowledge in teaching, research, innovation and his development work experience. “I have never invited Prof. Kagonyera to any meeting or engagement opportunity to explore possible collaboration for example directed towards soliciting additional funds to support research, innovation, science and technology in Makerere University, Uganda let alone Africa as a whole but also offer mentorship to students and faculty at the School of Public Health and beyond and he declines the invitation-what a committed citizen” said Prof. William Bazeyo, Dean Makerere University School of Public Health and RAN Chief of Party/Lab Director. Prof. Kagonyera is committed to the growth of not only the Educational sector in Uganda and Globally but also the Agricultural, industrial, health, technology and innovation among others.
In his remarks during the experience sharing evening, Prof Bazeyo shared that, “Prof. Kagonyera is principled; He always wants things to be done right, condemns wrong doing, and has Makerere University as part and parcel of his family wherever he goes”. He added that Prof. Kagonyera is a brilliant man, a great motivator, innovator and parent who freely and openly shares his wisdom, advice, and creative thinking for the benefit of society. He joined and diligently served Makerere University leaving a legacy that we are all proud to be associated with. It is the hope and prayer of many within and outside the School of Public Health that Prof. Kagonyera even now while pursuing his duties outside Makerere University continues to avail himself to the institution. The School of Public Health has been able to accomplish all its undertakings because of the continued support from the Makerere University Leadership under the able leadership of Prof. Mondo Kagonyera who has continued to be at the helm of all our research, innovation and teaching activities.
He freely engages with faculty and students from not only Makerere University but also other higher institutions of learning including secondary schools in an effort to foster innovation right from the lower Education level. During these engagements, Prof. Kagonyera among others has strongly supported Innovation sharing that “We the Africans are the best developers of innovative solutions to address African communities’ most pressing challenges because we live with and know best these challenges. Let us not wait for anyone else to develop and avail us these solutions”.
The Principal Makerere University College of Health Science Prof. Charles Ibingira, shared that Prof. Kagonyera, even if he is not one, respects Medical Doctors and would do anything in their favor. That because of his brilliance, commitment and hard work, Makerere University had greatly progressed during Prof. Kagonyera’s term. He also thanked the School of Public Health for leading in bidding farewell to a great man from Makerere University. He urged the Government of Uganda through the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda to add financial support to the College of Health Sciences in support of further research in order to eradicate community related diseases including malaria.
Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu in his remarks described Prof. Kagonyera as the center of resource mobilization in Makerere University and the champion of the Mwai Kibaki Main Library Project. He added; “Prof. Kagonyera, your term of office ends tomorrow but you will continue being part of Makerere University. “Thank you for the continued support since September 2012 when I took over office as Makerere University’s Vice Chancellor but also for always being ready and willing to guide the University Management team” Prof. Ddumba-Ssentamu remarked.
Prof. Kagonyera, in his remarks thanked all attendees and well-wishers for the kind gesture noting that he was flattered from the bottom of his heart. He shared that he had grown from the level of faculty through Chairman Appointments Board and been able to serve the institution as Chancellor for the last 8 years. Prof. Kagonyera thanked Makerere University School of Public Health for making tremendous institutional contribution to Makerere University through research. “I am proud to be associated with Makerere University School of Public Health Leadership. No matter who you are, if you are in the position of Leadership, listen to the people you lead so that you can together agree on how best to move forward” he added. We need to stop competing with the African Universities and instead compete with the United States based Universities because it is evident that Makerere University is far much placed (with knowledge being generated daily) to take on these Universities. The ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) has given innovators several opportunities to pitch their projects with those from other US Universities and on all the occasions students from Makerere Unversity have emerged first. “Do not under estimate the potential within Makerere University” remarked Prof. Kagonyera.
Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, Uganda’s Prime Minister who was the guest of honor at the interactive evening described Prof. Kagonyera as his role model, a hands-on Chancellor, committed to serve, with a clear political line, an intellectual, academic giant, gifted and straight forward clear leader. He added that, “It is now time for Makerere University to fully benefit from Prof. Kagonyera’s wealth of experience”. He also saluted the Makerere University founders for having built such a name and those who have continuously worked towards keeping this institution tick. Over the years, the Medical School in particular has also made a tremendous contribution towards Makerere University’s heights through the association to consultancy and research related work.
Thank you Prof. Kagonyera for living up to Makerere University’s motto “We build for the Future”. “You have indeed built for the future during your reign in this institution” noted Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda. We all need to work towards emulating all the good deeds and up lifting all that Prof. Kagonyera treasured. “As you work, aim at doing your best for you will be remembered by the good deeds/legacy you leave” added Rt. Hon Ruhakana Rugunda.
Prof. Kagonyera was presented with a photo collage of him appearing at different Makerere University events and activities as well as a plaque in recognition of his selfless commitment to serve not only Makerere University but also Uganda as a country and the entire Globe.