SUAKOKO, Bong – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called on recent graduates of Cuttington University to use their education to transform the country.
Sirleaf said a post-war country like Liberia needs quality education for its recovery and development.
She was speaking on Saturday when she served as keynote speaker at the commencement convocation of the Cuttington School of Graduate and Professional Studies on the university’s main campus in Suakoko.
“Education is the cornerstone of the development of any nation, most especially a post conflict country like our own,” Sirleaf said.
She encouraged the graduates to reach out and share the knowledge with other Liberians who have not had the opportunity to acquire quality higher education in their respective communities for the overall development of the country.
Sirleaf advised the graduating students against acts counterproductive to national development.
“You must walk away from the binding chain of selfishness, dependency, indiscipline, dishonesty and yet, tribalism,” she said.
She then hailed the administration and faculty of Cuttington University as well as parents and guardians of the graduates for their role played in the formation of the students.
Separately, Deborah Harmon Hines, the keynote speaker for the undergraduate commencement Friday, encouraged the graduates to take the development drive of Liberia into their own hands.
A professor emeritus of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the United States, she said the collective effort of the graduates and all other Liberians is cardinal for the country’s development.
“No matter what your call and vocation is, it can be used to make Liberia a better place to live,” Hines noted.
She told the graduates that the future of Liberia is in their hands and that it is time for them to use their skills for the good of the country.
The university put out 362 students with undergraduate degrees, 288 students with post graduate degrees, and 46 with associate degrees.
Earlier on, the president of Cuttington University, Herman Browne, wished the graduates well.
“Of approximately 2,600 presently enrolled at this university, we take leave this event, of 696 of them. As you step into the risky hallways and the uncharted corridors of life, we wish you well,” Browne said.
He announced that the university is making changes in its administrative and academic structures to enhance effectiveness in the coming semesters.
Sianneh Kulleh, a student who graduated with a bachelor of science degree in plant and soil sciences, told The Bush Chicken that “as a daughter of farmers, it was not easy spending four years here at Cuttington.”
Kulleh said her parents did not have the financial will power to sponsor her studies.
“I had to practically beg people to help pay my fees. Here I am today graduating with a degree,”
She wants to continue her education and develop herself into a plant pathologist to help the agriculture sector of Liberia.
Uriah Mitchell, who finished with a post-graduate diploma in education, told The Bush Chicken that he is delighted to have earned such a degree and is willing to help change the education system of Liberia from “mess to best.”
“In my mind, education has provided me the continuity and significance because without it, it is very difficult to unfold the new dimensions that the country is striving for,” he said. “My training at Cuttington University will strike a balance between economic and individual progress, [and] prepare my students for a useful life and useful occupation.”
[Full disclosure: the author of this article also graduated from Cuttington University with Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education.]
Featured photo courtesy of the Executive Mansion.