Renowned Kenyan marathoner Eliud Kipchoge was awarded an honorary degree by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) during its 41st convocation ceremony on Friday, December 1, 2023.
JKUAT Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Mathu Ndung’u, awarded Kipchoge the Doctor of Humane Letters (Honoris Causa), acknowledging the athlete's exceptional philanthropic efforts that extend far beyond his sporting achievements.
Kipchoge, a two-time Olympic champion and the first person in history to run a marathon in under two hours, focuses on humanitarian causes such as environmental conservation and inclusive education.
In his acceptance speech, the freshly crowned Kipchoge noted that the honorary degree from JKUAT was not only a personal honour but a call to elevate his commitment to positively impact Kenya and the global community.
“I am deeply moved and humbled to be recognized for what I consider to be my small efforts in advancing humanity and societal progress,” Kipchoge said.
Kipchoge was one of 4,775 graduates celebrated during the ceremony themed 'Fostering Quality Training, Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Development.' The event saw the conferral of twenty-five doctorates and 315 master's degrees.
Addressing the ceremony, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu said that Kenya was increasingly pivoting towards a technology-dependent economy which requires universities to produce new cadres of graduates with the requisite skills.
The Cabinet Secretary lauded JKUAT’s research internationalization efforts, saying that it made JKUAT graduates marketable both locally and overseas. He added that global partnerships had raised the profile of the country’s higher education sector and made local universities attractive to foreign students.
Prof. Walter Oyawa, Director General, National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation, delivered the Cabinet Secretary's remarks.
JKUAT Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Mathu Ndung’u said that the University is implementing a pilot study to decarbonise Kenya’s transport sector. The Audi-funded e-mobility project involves the provision of electric motorcycles and solar-powered charging points in Murang’a County.
Prof. Ndung’u added JKUAT and other partners had donated 40 wheelchairs to deserving and needy cases in Baringo and Kajiado counties. The wheelchairs were assembled at the recently set up Wheelchair Service and Learning Centre at JKUAT.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi said JKUAT had remained the preferred University due to the quality of its academic programmes which answer to market demands while supporting Kenya’s development agenda.
“During the September 2023 intake, the University admitted 7,300 new students through the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service, of which, 352 comprised the first cohort for TVET programmes,” Prof. Ngumi reported.
The newly appointed Chairman of the Council, Dr. Micah Onsando said JKUAT remains committed to quality service delivery in all its training and research programmes.
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Dr. Onsando noted that JKUAT was at the final stages of developing the fifth-generation strategic plan covering the 2023-2027 period. He added that the University had embarked on migrating its key services to the e-citizen platform in compliance with the Government’s guidelines.
Addressing the graduation ceremony on behalf of JKUAT alumni, Emgwen Constituency Member of National Assembly, Hon. Josses Kosgey Lelmengit said the remarkable achievements of JKUAT alumni bear witness to the university's unwavering commitment to excellence.
“The School of Architecture and Technology stands as a beacon, leading the way in sustainable building technologies—a critical initiative in the face of climate change,” the legislator said.
Hon. Kosgey’s struggles to acquire education transformed him into a formidable champion of education, especially for vulnerable groups.
“The immeasurable support I received from the community led me to allocate a record 47 million shillings to bursaries for needy students in my constituency in my first year,” the lawmaker said.
The valedictorian speech at the graduation was given by Benjamin Ochieng Mbuya, who graduated at the top of his class with a Bachelor's degree in radiography.
Mbuya highlighted that JKUAT offered an excellent platform for graduates to acquire competitive knowledge and embark on diverse career paths.
“We have gained invaluable knowledge, made enduring friendships, and discovered the resilience within ourselves to overcome obstacles,” Mboya said.