By Micheal Mubangizi
The Uganda Christian University (UCU) community joins the rest of the country in mourning the demise of former Archbishop and UCU Chancellor Bishop Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo which occurred this morning.
Nkoyoyo was the first UCU Chancellor and Archbishop Church of Uganda in 1997 when UCU started and as such played an essential role in its establishment. Nkoyoyo was Archbishop of the Church of Uganda from 1995 to 2004.
According to the UCU Charter, the UCU Chancellor shall at all-time be the Archbishop of the Province of the Church of Uganda.
As Chancellor, Nkoyoyo served the Church of Uganda founded university with great dedication and efficiency.
He presided over all ceremonial assemblies of the university and in the name of the university, conferred degrees and other academic titles and distinctions at UCU.
He served as a visitor to the university and in that capacity performed overall supervisory roles over the affairs of the university and conducted regular visitations to acquaint himself with the affairs of the institution and minister to staff and students.
In honour and appreciation of his dedicated services, UCU in 2002 named a multi-purpose hall after him. The famous Nkoyoyo Hall serves as a UCU worship centre, among other functions.
Recruiting the first UCU Vice Chancellor
He was also key in recruiting the first UCU Vice Chancellor Prof. Stephen Noll. Speaking about this in an article in an October 2017 UCU@20 souvenir magazine, Nkoyoyo said, “I thought that getting the Vice Chancellor from Uganda (Africa), was going to be more expensive, I told them that we needed a proper dressed Vice Chancellor – I mean someone who would be paid by the home country. Therefore, I went to Britain, but I failed to get one there. When I went to Pittsburg in Pennsylvania in USA, I met Prof. Stephen Noll. I talked to him about the university, we discussed and I asked him to come to Uganda and help us start the university as the Vice Chancellor. After three years, Prof. Stephen Noll and his family came to Uganda.”
Role in starting UCU
Nkoyoyo was a consummate preacher and humble servant. His seniority neither encumbered him nor puffed him up. Even though he made a major contribution to the start of the university, he was modest about his role.
Speaking about his contribution in the October 2017 UCU@20 magazine, he said, “It was not so big, I persuaded people to love their university, raising money through fundraising and talking person-to-person,” adding to his role in recruiting the first UCU Vice Chancellor.
While he spoke modestly of his role, other people felt that he played a pivotal role in the establishment of UCU.
“He [Nkoyoyo] was the major driving force. He came very strongly to see that it [the university] started. He did a lot of fundraising and publicized the university but of course with the support from church organs like the standing committee and board of education,” said Retired Assistant Bishop of Kampala Diocese Bishop Eliphaz K. Maari in the UCU@20 souvenir magazine. Maari was the last principal of Bishop Tucker Theological College (BTTC) and the acting Vice Chancellor of UCU for three years.
Up to the point of his death, Nkoyoyo remained a good ambassador of the university and spoke highly of it in churches, conferences and media interviews.
While we are saddened by his demise, we are, however, comforted by his good deeds.
We are encouraged that he was a man of faith. Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, said, “He (or she) who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11.25-26). That faith and hope is our pillar of strength through this bitter bereavement.