By Pauline Luba
Christiana Ampeire was at one time mocked for scoring low grades at school. Among the people who mocked her for what they considered poor performance, she says, was one of her teachers in secondary school.
Such conduct towards Ampeire forced her to reset her mind with every sunset. Luckily for her, the tide changed in her favor. And on October 13, 2023, she had a plaque to show for that. The plaque was a gift for academic excellence.
“Here I am with a First Class Degree, and I feel good,” Ampeire, a fresh graduate of Uganda Christian University, said. She was among the 33 students who graduated with a First Class at UCU’s 24th graduation ceremony held at the Main Campus on October 13. At UCU, every student who achieves a First-Class degree is awarded with an academic achievement plaque.
Ampeire received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication at the ceremony where 986 students graduated. Fifty-four percent of the graduates, drawn from the Main and Arua Campuses, including some of the affiliate institutions, were female students.
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At the ceremony, Precious Claire Ninsiima, a graduate of Bachelor of Business Administration, was announced the overall best student, and also the best arts student, scoring a Grade Point Average of 4.78 of 5.0. Gilbert Afema was the best male student. Afema, who graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity, had a Grade Point Average of 4.60 of 5.0. Martin Juuko took home the award for best science student, garnering a Grade Point Average of 4.50 of 5.0 in Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Ninsiima said she had initially been admitted to Makerere University to pursue a degree course in international business under government sponsorship. However, the allure of the orderliness and the virtues that the alums of UCU espouse were too strong for Ninsiima’s mother to ignore. She thus relocated her daughter to UCU, so she could tap into the values that come with studying at the university.
“My mother suggested I join UCU because of its values and its image as a Christ-centered institution,” Ninsiima said.
However, UCU Vice Chancellor Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi reminded the graduates that the values they had acquired at the university need to be nurtured “because it’s what sets you apart as a UCU graduate. UCU is well-known for our value-based education.”
The Rt. Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, the day’s chief guest and former Archbishop of the Anglican Church, who is also a former chancellor of UCU, urged the graduates to be willing and ready to use the values they had learned to serve humanity.
“True service will promote your name. Be willing and ready to serve. You don’t have to bribe your way to a position. Faithful service wins the approval of heaven and it’s heaven that promotes,” Orombi said. He encouraged the graduates, who included five UCU staff who graduated with PhDs, to pursue their destiny with ambition and prove themselves as trustworthy workers.
Getting doctoral degrees from UCU were the following faculty members: Rev. Dr. Abel Wankuma Kibbedi, who completed a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Literature; and Dr. Faith Mbabazi Musinguzi, Dr. Gladys Ayot Oyat, and Dr. David Sengendo, all acquiring a PhD in Education Administration and Management. Dr. Arthur Nuwagaba of the School of Business was awarded a PhD in Business and Administration from the University of Nairobi.
Enumerating some of the recent achievements at the university, Mushengyezi mentioned the six newly accredited PhD programs at the university, inviting people to take up the opportunities to further their academic pursuits. The newly accredited programs are PhD in Journalism, Media and Communication; Doctor of Philosophy in Development Studies; Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration; Doctor of Philosophy in Theology (reassessment); and Doctor of Ministry and Doctor of Philosophy in Literature.
UCU Chancellor urges graduates to tap into the power of social media
UCU Chancellor His Grace the Most Rev. Dr. Samuel Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu, encouraged the graduates to apply the knowledge they have acquired to be change makers.
“I encourage you to embrace your roles as potential job creators and innovators. Be bold, take risks, and pursue your passions with self-discipline and trust in God to lead you,” Mugalu said.
He urged the graduates to tap into the power of social media to connect people, bridge gaps, and amplify voices. However, he warned about the potential of social media to promote division, cause misinformation, negativity and biases.
For the second time, Uganda Partners, in partnership with the UCU Department of Communications and Public Relations, produced an annual newspaper, the Ebenezer that was distributed to some guests at the graduation ceremony. The online edition can be found here.