Graduation Day at AU

Munashe Furusa (left), vice chancellor of Africa University, confers with Timothy Keating during graduation. Keating, an executive with the Boeing Co., was guest of honor at the ceremony. His family has endowed a permanent scholarship valued at $130,000 for female students studying education. ~ photo by the Africa University Department of Information and Public Affairs

Including the Class of 2018, Africa University in Zimbabwe now has 8,800 graduates in 24 years.

EVELINE CHIKWANAH
United Methodist News Service

A top executive of Boeing challenged the 616 Africa University graduates from 21 countries to go forth and become exemplary leaders.

“Our world is in need of good principled leaders like yourself. Every good leader worked hard, took risks and treated others with respect,” said Timothy Keating, executive vice president of government operations for the Boeing Company.

Keating also announced at the June 9 graduation ceremonies that his family has endowed a $130,000 permanent scholarship for female students studying education at the United Methodist university.

He said his family had been blessed, and it was time for them to give back to others. The scholarship is named for Keating’s wife, Ann.

He urged the graduates to work hard as they embarked on a new part of their journey in life.

“By working hard and treating people with respect you can improve your luck,” Keating said. “Someone will take a risk on you.”

The university awarded Keating an honorary doctorate of leadership and governance in recognition of his accomplishments.

The new graduates were celebrating. 

Africa University students cheer following their graduation. There were 616 students in this year’s class. ~photo by the Africa University Department of Information and Public Affairs

Tapiwanashe Millicent Muganyura, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, could hardly find the words to express how she felt.

“I have no description for it.  I feel like everything worth describing the feeling is an understatement.  My feelings are numb, if that can ever make sense,” she said.

The Rev. Munyaradzi Timire, Zimbabwe East Conference education secretary, who completed  a postgraduate degree in public policy and governance, was excited about his achievement.

“I am grateful that I was able to able to fulfill my desire of being a policy expert.  I hope my studies will help the denomination when it is making policies which have to be futuristic,” he said.

Africa University Vice Chancellor Munashe Furusa said the university would annually draw enough funding from the Ann Keating Scholarship to pay for four years of study for one student.

The vice chancellor said solutions for many of society’s challenges should come from sharp young minds like those of the graduating class.

“When you leave this institution, you are going into a world that demands continuous adaptation and innovation,” he said.

Furusa said the university was reviewing its academic program structures and courses offered.

“The university believes in training and developing a total person with a deep understanding of our pan-African identity and heritage, and grounded in strong Christian values,” he said.

“We have developed a comprehensive general education program that was approved by the AU Board in March and will be implemented from August 2018,” said Furusa.

Dignitaries gather for the 24th graduation ceremony of United Methodist-related Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe. ~ photo by the Africa University Department of Information and Public Affairs

This year’s graduating class was very special to the vice chancellor.

“Most of you joined the university in 2014, the same year that I also joined this great institution. You are therefore the first class that I saw through from your first year as freshmen to your final year, and it gives me joy to witness your graduation,” said Furusa.

The graduates include 309 women and 307 men. The class comprised 123 international students and 453 Zimbabweans. With the addition of the class of 2018, Africa University now has about 8,800 graduates.

The university gave scholarships worth more than $2.2 million to 550 students over the last year, and Furusa expressed gratitude to The United Methodist Church, the Africa University board and other partners for providing those scholarships.

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