UL Begins 72nd Founders’ Day -Suspends Classes for Inter-College soccer On Friday

By: Sallu K.Swaray

MONROVIA – Celebrated on the theme, 𝑆𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑖𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝐺𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑛𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒, 𝐷𝑒𝑚𝑜𝑐𝑟𝑎𝑐𝑦, 𝑃𝑒𝑎𝑐𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑆𝑡𝑎𝑏𝑖𝑙𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑖𝑛 𝐿𝑖𝑏𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑎”, the Administration of the University of Liberia (UL) yesterday began activities marking its 72nd Founders Day, commencing with melodies of University choir on the Main Campus of the university. As announced by the UL administration, the three-day celebration in observance of its Founder’s Day will span over the period of February 15-17, 2023.

The President of the University, Rev. Dr. Julius J. Sarwolo Nelson told a press conference at the Capitol Hill Campus that the event will be climaxed with indoor programs inclusive of which are speeches and other activities.

Besides the official statement by Dr. Nelson in which he narrated the historical significance of the UL Founder’s Day, the UL Chorus last evening held a small musical concert around the Tubman Monument in the UL Park in commemoration of the 72nd Founder’s Day.

The itinerary also listed Thursday morning February 16, 2023, for an intellectual discourse during an indoor program at the Auditorium, UL Capitol Hill campus, to which the diplomatic community, international partners, students, pro-democracy institutions, CSOs, and the general public are invited.

Climaxing the Founder’s Day activities, a parade scheduled for Friday will commence outside the SKD Sports Complex at about 9: AM ahead of the Sports events.

Dr. Nelson disclosed that both football and kickball matches will be take place on Friday at the SKD Sports Complex in Paynesville to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the existence the premier state-owned University established on February 15, 1951. He was not however clear on the teams that would engage for the games.

The University of Liberia Chief Executive averred that the university was charter and established by an Act of Legislature on February 15, 1951 to prepare and qualify the nation’s men and women for teaching and research, and for public and private services, to contribute to Liberia’s sustainable growth and human capacity development.                                                                                                            

Rev. Dr. Nelson told the news conference heralding the start of the 72nd Founder’s Day activities that, the nation’s highest premier public university amongst other goals was established to become a center of learning with high academic standards dedicated to the pursuit, promotion and dissemination of practical knowledge which is immediately useful to the social, economic and cultural development needs of the Republic of Liberia and beyond.

He narrated that the University of Liberia, as art’s heritage, makes significant contributions to the education and human resource development of Liberia.

Historicizing the University of Liberia, he noted that the efforts to establish the Liberian college in 1961 were led by Samuel Greenleaf, a Harvard College Law Professor, who drafted the Liberian Constitution of 1847 based on which the country proclaimed its independence to the world.

The establishment of the mother institution that birthed the foundation of the University of Liberia is in realization of his belief that the Republic of Liberia ought to have within itself the means of educating its citizens for all duties of public and private lives.

Dr. Nelson indicated that in 1848, Joseph Tyson – Secretary of the Massachusetts Colonization Society said, “Should gentlemen of Monrovia have a project under consideration, which if successfully executed, has very important consequences, it [should be] the establishment of a well-endowed university in Liberia.”

The UL president intimated that as result of this view propounded, Liberia College was incorporated by an Act of Legislature in December, 1851, as the cornerstone for the first building of the College finance by the Trustee of Donations for Education in Liberia [TDEL] was laid on January 25, 1858.

Dr. Nelson reiterated that On January 23, 1862 the first President of the Republic of Liberia, Joseph Jerkins Roberts, was inaugurated as the first President of Liberia College. Working with two professors, Rev. Alexander Cromwell and Professor Dr. Edward Wilmot Blyden, President Roberts opened the doors of Liberia College in February 1863 with its first class comprising seven male students including three holding scholarships from the New York Colonization Society.

Since its establishment in 1951, fifteen persons have served as president of the Liberia College now the University of Liberia, including two Americans – Dr. J. Max Bond 1951 to 1954 and Dr. Kamet C. King – 1955 to 1958. Dr. Nelson furthered that there were thirteen Liberians one of whom was a female, who was Dr. Antoinette Brown Sherman (1978- 1984).

Meanwhile, a UL release says classes will remain in session from Wednesday to Thursday of this week; however, to allow students and others fully participate in the sporting event of the Founder’s Day celebration which is taking place at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex, classes will be suspended only on Friday, February 17, 2023. The day-long inter-college sporting events will begin with a parade outside the Sports Complex, the release said

The University of Liberia has a student population of about 20,000 students.

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