Meru University of Science and Technology (MUST) held its 10th graduation ceremony and celebrated its tenth anniversary since the Award of Charter in a glorious event at the university school grounds on March 10, 2023.
The varsity is located in the Tigania West constituency in Meru County.
The recently reinstated Vice Chancellor (VC), Professor Romanus Odhiambo, said he was happy to see so much growth since the institution was officially named a university on March 1, 2013, by the late former president Mwai Kibaki.
“I am always overwhelmed with joy and pride when I walk around the institution. We have put so much time, effort and finances into what we have now,” Prof. Odhiambo said in his speech.
A star is born
The public institution was established in 1979 as Meru College of Technology (MECOTECH) on land donated by the Meru Council of Elders, commonly known as Njuri Ncheke.
In 2008, the government of Kenya elevated MECOTECH to a university and named it Meru University College as a constituent college of Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (JKUAT).
It has since grown to be a world-class center of excellence following an Award of Charter in 2013, and Dr. James Mwangi CBS was appointed the first chancellor.
The university has extended to open a town campus in Meru County.
MUST has continued to play a leading role in developing and expanding opportunities for higher learning and research.
The university has achieved tremendous growth in curricular development, staff capacity, development, infrastructure development, as well as research and collaborations.
Research and Innovation Centre
As per the theme of MUST’s 10th graduation, Embracing Science, Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Development, the university has continued to cut edge in supporting technical courses for career diversity.
Meru University will be the first institution of higher learning in Kenya to benefit from the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) grants rollout to start Sanitation Programs in Africa and South East Asia.
The program will begin in May this year.
In attendance, the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Ezekiel Machogu, urged the graduands to use their skills in technology to help fight climate change.
“We want to feel the impact of universities in solving our homegrown problems,” said the CS.
This comes weeks after the university launched its own E-waste management project to boost environmental conservation by eliminating electronic waste.
MUST becomes the first university in the country to invent a model where resources are recycled after use rather than disposing of them.
“We are striving to practice a circular economy with the intention to produce no waste by repairing, reusing and recycling as much as possible,” said the VC while commissioning the project.
Additionally, the university has established a fully functional sanitation research institute that looks at circular research on organic waste ahead of the course rollout in May.
The public institution also has an incubation center that is being used for great innovation.
To fight climate change, hunger and drought, MUST has a tree planting project which has hit 80,000 trees and has been named the Chancellor’s Forest.
Resumption of learning
The graduation ceremony marked a bounce back to normalcy after the chaos that had led to the indefinite closure of the institution.
CS Machogu recalled the vice-chancellor after the University Council sent him on a terminal leave that subsequently led to student chaos.
He termed the decision as unlawful and faulted the council for not consulting his office prior to undertaking the decision, referring to the VC as a hardworking man of integrity.
“Unfortunately, the council fell short of its legal duty of fidelity to the applicable law,” Machogu said as he named a new council.
Dr. Jane Kiringai was appointed to be the chairperson of the new council.
The CS further named Martin Kinoti, Jacob Kwaba, Janet Afandi, Lucy Rimanto and Sylvester Kinyor as members of the council in a gazette notice.
Tigania West Member of Parliament John Mutunga said he was concerned about the student unrest and was glad peace had been restored.
“The university is near my home and when everything is running smoothly in the institution, I am content,” Mutunga said as he delivered his speech to the graduands.
The MP commended the university vice chancellor for the tremendous growth witnessed in his term in terms of student growth, course increment, infrastructure and space expansion.
The population currently stands at 11,000 students and over 400 members of staff.
He promised to continue working with the institution to ensure the delivery of quality education to the growing population.
“I am aware that more infrastructure is needed to cater for all students in terms of security and accommodation. I will work with the institution’s administration and the county government to build more hostels,” he promised the VC.
The VC had highlighted the accommodation issue, saying that the university can only accommodate 950 students in its facilities, which is a small number compared to the entire school population.
The county government of Meru was represented in the ceremony by the Deputy Governor, Mutuma M’ithinkia.
M’inthikia thanked the Education CS for calming the storm after three days of student chaos.
“I thank the CS for calming that messy situation that ran for almost three days after the removal of the VC, said the deputy governor.
The Chancellor’s word
Dr. James Mwangi CBS, Meru University Chancellor, congratulated the graduands and recognized their resilience and hard work to realize their dreams.
He urged them to be innovative in the market both globally and locally.
“We businessmen keep reinventing ourselves and this paradigm holds a lot of promise. The values that will help you to thrive in the dynamic world are creativity, innovation, critical thinking, problem-solving skills and a continuous learning culture,” the Chancellor advised.
Mwangi challenged them to contribute innovatively to the world, especially now that people are focusing on climate change and sustainability.
“The challenge on you as you leave the gates of this university is how well you put the skills you have to use for the better of the society and for your self-development,” he added.
While addressing the unfortunate turn of events at the university, Mwangi applauded the government for the prompt intervention to restore order.
“The disruptions that we experienced last week were unfortunate and unnecessary and could have been avoided through consultation with relevant leaders,” he stated while commending the students and the local community for how they handled the issue.
In his last remarks, Mwangi reminded the graduands to focus on earning, sustaining and gaining trust by envisioning progress and pushing first the status quo.
Mwangi has served the university for two terms since the institution officially became a university and his term is set to end in August this year.
He is the current Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Equity Group Holdings.