By Jimmy Siyasa
Uganda Christian University (UCU), formally received the Ankrah Foundation premises on February 03, 2022, during a handover ceremony witnessed by a UCU delegation headed by the Vice-Chancellor, Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi. The handover postdates a lease agreement signed earlier in November 2021, between UCU and Ankrah Foundation Limited, currently headed by Prof. Eleanor Maxine Ankrah, who is the Managing Director of the Foundation.
As part of the ten-year-long, renewable lease agreement, UCU will now utilize the facilities for various purposes including establishing resource centres, accommodation spaces for students, office spaces, and more. Prof. Mushengyezi who was UCU’s representative signatory also officially received keys to the estates during a handover ceremony held at the home of Professor Maxine, located on Besania hill, Mukono. He noted that the generous offer by Ankrah Foundation would enrich UCU’s service provision to her major stakeholders in many ways and, therefore, was highly appreciated.
“Today is a happy day at UCU and at the Ankrah Foundation because we have officially received the property and all the keys and copies of titles to facilitate the transfer of the lease to UCU for 10 years,” he said.
Prof. Mushengyezi also noted that due to the pivotal role of the couple- Prof. Maxine and her Late husband Canon Ankrah Kodwo in the establishment of various socioeconomic development fora in the Church of Uganda, it is important that UCU- being Church-founded maintains a good relationship with the Foundation. “It is significant for UCU and the Ankrah Foundation to work together so that we can move forward and preserve that vision which was started by Canon Kodwo and Maxine,” he emphasized.
Prof. Maxine mentioned that the partnership with UCU is one sure way to “stay linked to the Church,” an entity that not only her husband cared for so much, but one that both of them desired to serve, as missionaries.
David Mugawe, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) for Finance and Administration, who spoke on behalf of the rest of the UCU top management delegation assured the Ankrah Foundation management that UCU would exercise good stewardship of their leased property. “As UCU, we are grateful for the partnership. We want to pledge to Professor [Maxine] that we will take care of the property, value it and use it to the glory of God,” Mugawe said.
UCU intends to renovate and turn into a students’ hostel a section of the estate, which was formerly a hospitality center. Bridget Mugume Mugasira, the Director of Student Affairs at UCU said the facility will offer “excellent accommodation for students”. She added that her office would work hand in hand with the Facilities and Capital Projects Directorate, headed by Eng. David Kivumbi, who was also present, to have it ready for use by Trinity Semester 2022. “We are immediately starting to renovate the building so that it is available for use in the May Semester. I encourage students to prepare to book rooms there,” she said.
Early this year, the University administration appointed Prof. Maxine to serve as a visiting Professor in the Directorate of Postgraduate Studies. The appointment is but one of many courtesies UCU is extending to Prof. Ankrah, not only as part of the agreement but also and most importantly, in honour of her Late husband Canon Kodwo. Together, the couple has, since their arrival in Uganda, contributed significantly to socio-economic development with the Church of Uganda. They did so through various development fora, notably Planning, Development and Rehabilitation (PDR), a project through which they established schools, hospitals, and churches, among other Church-owned facilities.
The Vice-Chancellor believes that Prof. Maxine’s scholarly association to UCU will elevate the University’s profile given her sound, global reputation as a scholar. “With that docket and with the Ankrah Foundation Thinktank, we see her poised to lift the image of UCU worldwide because of her reputation all over the world and her connections,” he noted at the handover.