661 Graduate at UG July 2022 Congregation Ceremony

The University of Ghana has held a congregation ceremony for graduate students from its four Colleges and undergraduates from the Medical and Dental Schools, who successfully completed the programmes during the 2021/2022 academic year. 

The ceremony, saw the conferment of degrees on six-hundred and sixty-one (661) students including one hundred and three (103) PhDs, five hundred and thirty (530) Masters and twenty-eight (28) undergraduate students. 

Mrs. Mary Chinery-Hesse, Chancellor, in her opening remarks, congratulated the students on successfully completing their programmes of study. She applauded them for their hard work and efforts to satisfy the requirements for graduation and wished them the best of the journey ahead. 

Mrs. Chinery-Hesse also commended the Management of the University for continuing to work towards returning the academic year to the regular, pre-pandemic schedule and noted Management’s decision to continue with in-person congregation ceremonies, as the University learns to manage and live with the virus. “It is my expectation that barring any unforeseen circumstances, the University should be back on track by the 2023/2024 academic year”, she stated.  

Mrs. Mary Chinery-Hesse, Chancellor

The Chancellor further lauded Management’s initiatives to enhance the student experience through digitalisation and was elated by the positive results, as corporate bodies were stepping up to partner with the University to provide support. She appreciated the efforts by Management to increase the stock of student accommodation towards alleviating the perennial shortage of residential facilities for students. “These initiatives are highly laudable, as our students deserve the very best, and I charge Management to continue to work on these as well as continue training in customer service for frontline staff of the University who engage with our students”, she stated. She noted that as these initiatives bear fruits, the students who will be the beneficiaries, should ensure they take appropriate care of the equipment and facilities and properly maintain them for use by successive cohorts of students. 

Mrs. Chinery-Hesse saluted the faculty of the University who continue to play a pivotal role in the national discourse; including the management of Covid-19 and other diseases, the global economic crisis, or local and international politics. Noting that their advocacy also keeps authorities of various sectors in check, she urged them to keep it up as it plays an important role in ongoing discussions in different areas of national life. “Indeed, it helps in bringing the gown to town, by breaking down complex issues and making these easily understood by the general public”, she added. 

Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, Vice-Chancellor, in her address to Congregation highlighted developments within the University during the academic year.  

Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, Vice-Chancellor

Reiterating that henceforth, Congregation ceremonies will be in-person, she assured all stakeholders that the University is mindful that Covid-19 still exists in addition to other viruses, thus, the University will continue to practise preventive measures to protect the health and wellbeing of all of its stakeholders. 

Prof. Amfo mentioned that the University in April launched three-pronged initiatives: classroom modernisation; one student, one laptop (1S1L) and the hot-spot comfort zones, under the theme ‘Enhancing the UG Student Experience through Digitalisation”. 

Explaining the purpose of the initiative and the progress made on these, the Vice-Chancellor reported that the first phase of the classroom modernisation project had been awarded on contracmt and work had already commenced. “The scope of work covers about seven (7) buildings with several classrooms/lecture halls and is estimated to cost a total of GHS 5,500,000.00. The second phase of the classroom modernisation project will cover several other classrooms/lecture halls and will cost between USD 65,000 and USD 170,000 per lecture room, depending on the size of the classroom, the level of renovation needed and the equipment to be installed”, she added. Prof. Amfo acknowledged Cal Bank for an initial amount of one hundred thousand cedis (GHS100,000) to support the project. 

On the One-Student-One-Laptop initiative, Prof. Amfo revealed that engagements are being held with the government to secure tax waivers to bring down the cost of laptops for needy students who will benefit from this initiative. Noting that a number of institutions have committed to supporting the initiative, the Vice-Chancellor gladly stated that the Stanbic Investment Management Services (SIMS), following a pledge it made during the launch of the initiative, has delivered thirty-five (35) laptops worth one hundred and fifty thousand Cedis (GHS 150,000.00) to support the initiative. “The Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has supported also this initiative. Last week we received a contribution of 20 laptops from Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors”, she added.

Prof. Amfo stated that the FBN Bank Ghana, in support of the Hot-Spot Comfort Zones, has made commitment towards the construction of two zones, while other companies have also made commitments to the project. 

A cross-section of graduands at the ceremony

She also reported on various projects initiated to address the shortage in student accommodation, adding that an  Off-Campus Accommodation Committee was set up to collate information on residential facilities close to campus. Prof. Amfo announced that information obtained by the Committee was publicised on an online portal so interested students could reach out to facility owners to secure rooms. “18 properties were assessed and found suitable, and 75 students have, so far, accessed beds from these facilities”, she stated. 

On the progress made in support of students and staff with special needs, Prof. Amfo stated that Council had II ò approved the establishment of a Centre for Disability Studies and Advocacy (CEDSA), with the key objectives to support differently abled members of the University community and encourage research and advocacy on disability. 

Prof. Amfo highlighted the visibility of the University through social media and stated that the Public Affairs Directorate continuously shares information using the social media channels. She urged all to follow the University on the platforms and share the University’s content. 

In addition, she stated that the University is undertaking a review of the 2014 – 2024 Strategic Plan with the view to: determine levels of achievement, factors and constraints that prevented the University from achieving some of its objectives and proposing a framework for a new Strategic Plan that will help the University address identified challenges and pave the way for continued achievements. 

“Also, a Committee has been set up to review and update the University’s Statutes. The review is to reflect the collegiate status adopted in 2014, and various other changes in governance that have taken place since the current statutes were approved in 2010. It is expected that the review would be completed by early next year”, she said. 

Prof. Amfo further mentioned that the University will be celebrating its 75th anniversary in August 2023, and planning towards celebrating this milestone had n started. She invited all present to the media launch of the celebration and encouraged them to look out for the programme schedule when it is released, and plan to participate in as many of the planned activities as possible. The Vice-Chancellor expressed a hearty congratulations to all the graduates and charged them to continue to persevere and be resilient. 

Dr. Afua Asabea Amoabeng Nti, a PhD graduate of the School of  Public Health, in her valedictory message thanked the Management and faculty of the University for the time and effort spent to impact them with knowledge. She appreciated families and well-wishers of the graduates for their constant support throughout the journey. She called on the graduates to commit themselves to giving off their best abilities, knowledge, talent and skills to every task and in whatever capabilities they find themselves. She asked them to always embrace the consciousness of making an impact wherever they find themselves. “Let us work hard at ourselves, let us become creators, innovators, who give ideas, designs and wealth to our country and the world at large”, she stated. 

Dr. Afua Asabea Amoabeng Nti, valedictorian of the session

Dr. Kwame Baah-Nuakoh, General Manager, Sustainability and Stakeholder Relations, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), in his speech as the Guest of Honour, extended a warm appreciation to the Management of the University for the opportunity to share a few thoughts with the graduates. He congratulated them for the achievement and noted that degrees they have received symbolises the great sacrifices they have made to meet the requirement for the graduation. He urged them to be proud of this milepost as taking the path of academia to success is not irrelevant.  Dr. Baah-Nuakoh encouraged the graduates to exhibit different and positive traits wherever they find themselves and uphold the UG values as alumni. “We should do things the Legon way and flaunt our Legon credentials”, he said. Noting the need for distinction between them and other graduates, he charged them to use the knowledge they have acquired in the University of Ghana to solve problems other colleagues are unable to. “Allow your experiences in this citadel of knowledge to shape your thoughts and your principles”, he added. 

Dr. Kwame Baah-Nuakoh, General Manager, Sustainability and Stakeholder Relations, GNPC

Earlier, Mrs. Emelia Agyei-Mensah, Registrar, welcomed all present and congratulated the graduates on standing firm amidst the recent disruptions to academic work, first from Covid-19, and then from various industrial actions. She noted that the University’s decision to hold open air, in-person ceremonies was necessitated by the safety protocols in place to curb the spread of Covid-19, and other diseases, and the University’s commitment to the wellbeing and safety of all stakeholders. “It is for this reason that attendance at this ceremony was limited, and we ask that there are no gatherings or parties on campus after the ceremony”, she added. 

Dissolving the congregation ceremony, Mrs. Mary Chinery-Hesse charged all the graduates to be worthy ambassadors of the University. She encouraged them to maintain links with the University and be active members of the University of Ghana Alumni Association. She shared her anticipation in seeing the graduates contribute their quota to national development. “We expect that with the great knowledge and skills you have acquired, you will assist our country Ghana to confront and resolve the many challenges foisted on us by the recent negative and turbulent global developments, including the Covid-19 Pandemic. We count on you to use the power of the knowledge you have acquired to better the world”, she stated. 

The ceremony was streamed live on all the University’s social media handles.