- Prof. Akama joined Kisii University College in 2009 as a founding principal.
- The outgone VC exits with hopes that another transformational leader will assume office and continue building on the existing structures.
- During a farewell occasion, he was also coronated as an elder in the Abagusii Cultural and Development Council.
After serving Kisii University for over a decade, Prof. John Akama’s term in office expired in June this year.
Prof. Akama leaves office and now transits to community roles in the Abagusii Cultural Development Council, and other areas of choice.
In celebration of his good leadership at Kisii University, the institution organized a farewell party to mark his exit.
The event, held on June 15, 2023, was attended by immediate former Kisii County Governor James Ongwae, the university’s teaching and support staff, Kisii University students from different campuses, community members, and other guests.
Prof. Akama and former governor Ongwae have served the Abagusii community for a long time.
They got into public office, university and county respectively, almost the same time; they now leave office only months apart.
“We are now leaving office as we came in in 2013. I took office as the first governor of Kisii County while he also took charge as the university’s Vice Chancellor.
The two offices were young, and we have tremendously built the society and our people,” Ongwae explained.
The former governor congratulated Prof. Akama for making the university grow from a small college to the now-big and productive institution.
A growing university
Prof. Akama joined Kisii University College in 2009 as a founding principal.
The institution, then a constituent college of Egerton University, had 300 students with just two programs, 7 lecturers and 30 non-teaching staff.
The learners were studying in a sub-standard infrastructure.
He has developed Kisii University from that state to now a world-class university, which has blossomed over the years since he was instated.
“When I first came here, the institution had just two programs. I set up structures and made sure it grew, and we currently have more than 200 fully accredited degree programs,” Prof. Akama said.
It’s no secret that the student population has grown tremendously from 300 to now over 22,000 students.
This upsurge in the number of students has led to an increase in the number of lecturers over the years, spiking from 7 to the current 330.
Spreading the wings
A toddler in 2009, Kisii University has grown up to be an eagle flying with other eagles in the heights of success and honor.
Prof. Akama says he fought hard and laid almost all the groundwork to install the School of Law at this young university then.
He has worked hard for it to get going by employing competent and qualified professionals in every department of the university.
His efforts didn’t take long to bear fruits; Kisii University’s School of Law is among the best law schools in Kenya.
“From the most recent results from the Kenya School of Law, Kisii University students did extremely well,” Prof. Akama appreciated.
He oversaw the establishment of a medical school in the university, which is now among the best in the country.
Kisii university has also stretched the economy of the region, with the ripple effect being a more vibrant economic sector within the county and beyond.
During his reign, the university opened satellite campuses in some parts of the country to cater to the growing number of students.
From Manchester to Kisii
The university’s School of Health Sciences is the fruit of the efforts of Prof. Akama and former governor Ongwae.
“The dream of starting a medical school was always there and we shared and planned with Prof. Akama on how to do it.
I followed up through the political side and him from the academic side, and we ensured the medical school got inaugurated at the university,” explained Ongwae.
John Guto of the University of Manchester, Prof. Akama, and Ongwae joined efforts and connected the University of Manchester with Kisii University.
Through this partnership, structures were established for the medical school to be operational.
Giving an example of Oxford University, Guto encouraged the Kisii University fraternity during the farewell to ensure the university builds the local community, just like Western universities impact their localities.
Through his leadership, Prof. Akama has ensured that the medical school grows and continues to expand.
This partnership was a game changer and still helps the university reach even greater heights.
The outgone VC exits with hopes that another transformational leader will assume office and continue building on the existing structures.
He also adds that the students from Kisii University are competitive in the job market.
Thank you, Prof.
After serving the nation through his office as Vice Chancellor, colleagues, scholars, family members, and students from across the country have remained appreciative of his good service to them and to humanity.
Prof. Anakalo Shitandi of Kisii University appreciated Prof. Akama for mentoring them on leadership and acknowledged that he forever remains grateful.
“We thank you, professor, for the foundation you laid as our first VC,” added Prof. Evans Basweti, Ag. DVC Academic Affairs.
Kisii University Council, represented by Dr. Bob Ndubi, thanked the outgone VC for his instrumental works and wished him well in his next phase of life.
He also noted that professors don’t retire, because it takes a lot of time and resources to make a professor.
Alex Njuguna, Kisii University Students Association Chairperson, lauded the scholar for his transformative stewardship.
“As we bid you farewell, we cannot express enough gratitude for the transformative impact you have had on our lives. You have left an indelible mark on the lives of countless students, including myself,” he said.
Njuguna acknowledged that the outgone VC’s commitment to fostering a nurturing learning environment has empowered students to pursue their dreams and reach for the stars.
“On behalf of every student who has had the privilege of being part of Kisii University, I extend my heartful gratitude for your invaluable contributions, exceptional leadership and dedication,” he thanked.
Dr. Mallion Onyambu, Prof. Akama’s wife, thanked her husband for working for the good of the community.
“You are a man of substance and a father figure. I have learned from you the art of authorship. The path has had ups and downs but God has seen us through,” said Dr. Onyambu.
She appreciated the guests for the support they accorded him and the opportunity to serve the community.
His sons also appreciated him for his efforts as a leader and a father.
Bruce Akama said, “Dad you have done quite a job. It has been a challenging experience, but you have pulled through successfully. Congratulations for the good work.”
“All these years, I have seen you work tirelessly for this community and do everything for it to succeed,” recalled Larry Akama.
The full-time whistle has gone, and it’s now time to venture into other fields elsewhere.
During the occasion, Prof. Akama was also coronated as an elder in the Abagusii Cultural and Development Council.
“The future is bright and sweet, keep moving,” Elder Prof. Akama urged the congregation during his speech after the installation.
He said that although it hasn’t been a perfect family within the university, they have managed to push through and were able to make it.
“Ever since I walked into Kisii University 13 years ago, I have put the interests of the society first and worked to the best of my ability to transform this institution to where it is now.
I urge the University Council to see to it that the university recruits a competent person of integrity to serve the university well,” Prof. Akama advised.
What makes him happy, in his own words, is the noble experience of touching people’s lives.
He added that a university is a public resource and should be productive to the community and the country.
It is the end game in his role as the vice chancellor but the beginning of another journey elsewhere.
As Scholar Media Africa, we appreciate his support and goodwill and wish him good luck in his next endeavors.