The Rusangu University 2022 commencement service was held on Sunday 4th September. The commencement is the third service and apex of the graduation ceremony. This is the day the graduates are conferred with their degrees or diplomas by the University Chancellor. The graduates also receive their charge, a statement of the expectations that the University has for them as they graduate. The class of 2022 chose a combined theme and motto dubbed, “Serving the world with integrity: Excellence through hard work and endurance.”
The Guest of Honor was Hon. Douglas Siakalima MP, Minister of Education. The Minister, in his address, appreciated the role that Rusangu University plays as a faith-based institution in partnering with the government of the Republic of Zambia in the provision of higher education. The minister said his government highly values education as the greatest equalizer hence the policy on free education by the New Dawn government of His Excellency Mr. Hakainde Hichilema. Hon Siakalima further stated that “Rusangu graduates, therefore, should be graduates who have not only academic excellence, but graduates who have practical agility, moral uprightness, and commitment to serve your various communities. Therefore, as you graduate, you should go out there and positively influence society.” He also urged the graduates to be diligent and exclusively committed to their cause.
In his welcome address, the newly installed Vice Chancellor Dr. Dorababu Tadepalli thanked Hon. Douglas Siakalima MP, for gracing Rusangu University’s 16th graduation ceremony. Dr. Tadepalli shared three projects the University has embarked on. The first is the School of Medicine at the Monze Campus. The VC remarked that RU has a good name with the School of Health Sciences. Therefore, the introduction of the School of Medicine would add a niche to RU and enhance enrolment. The second project is the setting up of a teaching hospital. The introduction of the School of Medicine would be complemented by the setting up of a teaching hospital since such facilities are few in Zambia. The third project is the need for the 4kms gravel road from the Livingstone road junction to be upgraded to an all-weather bituminous standard. The VC also requested the Minister to look into the possibility of students in private higher education institutions (HEIs) such as RU being given access to government loans or bursaries like their colleagues in public HEIs.
Dr. Tadepalli admonished the Class of 2022 to expect the unexpected as they venture into society. When faced with such, the graduates need to identify their unique strengths, and passions and commit to pursuing them. Creative thinking is another ingredient that is useful in navigating unexpected life events. The second piece of advice given to the graduates is for them to never give up no matter the odds against them. He urged the graduates to always trust in the Lord and go forward. Their faith in God and sincere efforts would lead them to success. The third piece of advice given to the students was for them to embrace and celebrate technology because technology is here to stay. The graduates were urged to be curious learners and technologically competent.
The Minister of Education was accompanied by other ministry officials, including the Director for University Education Mrs. Gladys Chilandani. Her Excellency, the Zimbabwean High Commissioner to Zambia Mrs. Charity Angelina Charamba also attended. Hon. Edgar Sing’ombe, the Member of Parliament for Dundumwezi Constituency (his daughter was among the graduates), the Monze and Mazabuka District Commissioners, the Monze Town Council Chairman and Secretary, the City of Livingstone Mayor – Her Worship Constance Nalishebo Muleabai were among several other dignitaries who graced the colorful occasion.
The Rusangu University council was led by the Chairperson Dr. Tommy Namitondo. Other public and private university Vice Chancellors or their representatives were also in attendance. Some of the higher education institutions represented included the University of Zambia, Copperbelt University, Mulungushi University, Cavendish University, Apex Medical University, Chresso University, ZCAS University, University of Africa, Evelyn Hone College, and Gateway to Better Living School of Nursing. Headmasters from several Primary and Secondary Schools were also in attendance. Professional bodies which regulate some of the programs were also in attendance, including the Midwifery and Nursing Council and the Health Professions Council of Zambia.
Several corporate bodies and church institutions which sponsored awards to high achieving students were also in attendance. These included ZANACO, ABSA, Atlas Mara, NAPSA, Lwengu School, Professional Insurance, NICO Insurance, Musika, ZAMREN, Maamba Collieries, NATSAVE, Grant Thornton, JUSTRAYS Construction, Conterra Africa Limited, Penmarks Limited, Golden Pillow Lodge, DLN Institute and ZICA. Some individuals also sponsored prizes, including Mr. and Mrs. Fikoloma of Ndola and the Zulu family of Lusaka. The church entities that sponsored prizes included Southern Zambia Union Conference, Woodlands Conference, Lusaka Conference, South Zambia Conference, Midlands East Zambia Conference, Midlands West Zambia Conference, Copperbelt Conference, and Luapula Zambia Conference. Rusangu University also sponsored prizes.