Farewell Your Grace

BY EVA KYOMUGISHA AND MAXY ABENAITWE

Uganda Christian University held a cocktail of activities in the last two weeks as the community bid farewell to its third Chancellor, the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, who is retiring on March 1. 

The activities started with the university Council annual retreat on January 10 at the Kampala Serena Hotel during which members heaped praises on the Archbishop for the great work he has done.

Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire, a council member and judge of the Court of Appeal, commended Ntagali for his good leadership with the Church of Uganda and UCU.  

University council members posing for a photo at Serena Hotel in Kampala
(Photo by Samuel Tatambuka)

“We have seen growth in the Church and at UCU and it is because of the leadership you have accepted,” Kiryabwire said. “I wish we could have you longer but it is important to renew leadership and not be scared of it.”

During the retreat, Ntagali and other members of the university community including the former Guild President, Bruce Amanya, were awarded for their dedicated service to the growth of the university.

In his remarks, Ntagali commended the work of the council in taking care of the university and helping it develop. “I often consulted the council because leading the university is complex. Thank you for looking after the university and knowing how far you have gone,” he said.

Before the Council held a closed-door session, the Rt Rev Dr Sheldon Mwesigwa, the chairperson of the University Council, appreciated the Vice-Chancellor, Dr John Senyonyi, for contributing to the chancellor’s work at UCU. “We have been watching the highlights of the development of UCU through the lenses of the vice-chancellor,” Mwesigwa said.

Dr Senyonyi too is retiring this year after leading the university for the last 10 years during which the institution has registered significant development in a number of areas including infrastructure.

Thornycroft Chapel 

From the University Council retreat, Ntagali attended another farewell organised by the Thornycroft Chapel on Sunday 12 in Nkoyoyo Hall. 

For the event, by 9:30am, Nkoyoyo Hall had been filled  prior to the arrival of the Archbishop accompanied by the Thornycroft chaplaincy, the service began with praise and worship led by Umoja Choir.

Guests present at the event included the Rev Prof Stephen Noll, UCU’s first vice chancellor, the Mother’s Union  and the provincial secretary. As the Archbishop delivered his last sermon to the Thornycroft Chapel, he advised leaders in the making to always trust God. “ Leadership is not easy but we depend upon God. God’s grace has led us this far. When God calls you, he equips you, blesses you and protects you,” he said.

The Most Rev Stanley Ntagali (center) posing for a photo with a gift given to him by the University community
(Photo by Maria Eyoru)

Ntagali honoured his good relationship with the vice-chancellor and encouraged the upcoming chancellor to    network with the chain of administration in the university. 

For the students, he advised them to remain focused, united and handle issues maturely because they are leaders in their own community. “Think through your ideas, consult and make research before coming to any conclusions,” he advised.

Dr Senyonyi credited Ntagali with expanding his pastoral visits to all the campuses of the university and thanked him for concluding the process of creating a memorandum of understanding between the Thornycroft Chapel and the Diocese of Kampala. To the Vice Chancellor, this made the chaplaincy a stronger institution within the university. 

After the service, Nkoyoyo Hall was re-arranged for a merry like event where the Thornycroft Chapel and the Chaplaincy presented farewell gifts to the archbishop. The Mother’s Union also presented a gift to Beatrice Ntagali in her absentia. The event ended with the sharing of a cake and a meal amongst the Thornycroft Chapel members and the guests.

Students and staff 

The students and staff of UCU also got their chance to bid farewell to their chancellor on Tuesday January 14. In a farewell ceremony held at the main campus on January 14, the community, led by the Vice Chancellor, appreciated Ntagali for the growth and expansion of the university.

“It is during the archbishop’s time in office that we were able to establish the UCU Medical School. The biggest problem we had in its establishment was finding a teaching hospital for the students to use; but with the help of the archbishop, we were able to have Mengo Hospital as a teaching hospital for our students,” Dr Senyonyi said.

He added that through the archbishop’s advocacy, UCU was able to get some much needed assistance from the Church in terms of finances through the UCU Sunday programme.

“A university is very expensive. Unlike the public universities which receive assistance from the Government, private universities rely on the student’s tuition. Some of it is claimed by the taxman which we could have used to develop the university,” Dr Senyonyi explained.