Unlike all the other graduation ceremonies that are held at the new football pitch, the sixth part of the 20th graduation ceremony was held in Nkoyoyo Hall. Blue, white and pink lined the walls of the hall as graduands and their well-wishers situated themselves on the plastic chairs that were used rather than the wooden seats that are commonly seen in the halls.
The chancellor’s procession arrived at exactly 10:00am. The chancellor himself was not present and was represented by the Vice-Chancellor, Dr John Senyonyi, who presided over the function.
The UMOJA Choir serenaded the audience with a variety of songs and hymns of praise and worship as well as hymns which revived the mood that had been down as a result of the early morning rain that blessed the event.
One of the key components of the event was the special commissioning for those who were to become reverends in which they affirmed the need to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ in their duties. The guest preacher and guest of honour was the Archbishop of Kenya Rev Sammy Wainaina, who spoke about Christian identity and its relevance in ones lifestyle.
“One of the discourses with Christianity is that religion is private. Religion is not private. We are called to make a difference by influencing and directing those around us,” Wainaina said.
Wainaina urged the UCU community to be a reflection of Jesus Christ through their actions with those around them. “Sometimes the way people describe the church is not positive. They are often described as hypocritical,” he said.
The MC at the graduation was Vincent Kisenyi, a lecturer with the Faculty of Business and Management. He invited the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Dr John Mulindwa Kitayimbwa, who in turn invited the vice-chancellor.
In his speech, Dr Senyonyi urged President Yoweri Museveni to keep his promise to reduce the taxes imposed on the private universities. “I welcome the President’s recent pronouncement to relieve private universities of taxes. We have heard this promise before and there was nothing that was done. I hope that something is done this time round,” Senyonyi said.
The vice-chancellor also assured the community of the need for God-fearing doctors in the workforce and that the university was working to meet the standards of the National Council for Higher Education. “UCU School of Medicine is a young child that needs to be tended carefully. We need to release doctors that are God-fearing even if employers do not differentiate such things,” he said.
A total of 320 graduates were awarded bachelor’s and master’s degrees in various fields such as nursing. Among them, a posthumous degree was awarded to Kasalina Batemyetto, a former student of Bachelor of Arts with Education, who passed away early this year.
Three PhDs were also awarded to some of the graduands. This had a change in formality in that the graduands went to the stage for special recognition. They were then dressed in special mortar boards to recognise them. One of the PhD graduates was the Archbishop of South Sudan, the Most Rev Justin Arama Baadi, who was awarded a Doctor of Ministry.
The function ended and the congregation dispersed. The graduates went to the faculties to collect transcripts while others headed for the picture booth that at the gate, before they left to celebrate.