UNIVERSITY OF MEDICAL SCIENCES, LAJE ONDO
Matriculation & Commencement Address
Emeritus Professor O.O. Akinkugbe CFR MD DPhil NNOM
Pro-Chancellor & Chairman of Council
Today my take and sense of history will reminisce on two epochal antecedents. One, the inauguration of the first university institution in Nigeria in 1948 when Dr. Kenneth Mellanby, its first Principal wrote:
"I find it difficult to remember my feelings when I first pushed my way through grass ten feet high to visit the derelict hospital buildings that were to be the temporary home of the University College Ibadan".
I myself matriculated in the same University College in 1951 when the total undergraduate population was barely 200.
Then in 1976, forty years ago almost to the day, I was destined as Principal of the University College Ilorin to matriculate the pioneering undergraduates at the Temporary Mini-campus housing the equally derelict buildings of the former Kwara State Polytechnic which we had inherited. I wrote feelingly on that occasion and you will permit me to quote from my address:
"This humble and unpretentious microenvironment has its own peculiar charm and poignant lesson. It reminds us forcefully of Amiel's dictum that Institutions are worth no more than the men who work them. Today with nearly 200 undergraduates enrolled and a formidable array of academic staff we set out on this unique adventure. Perhaps the most valuable commodity that any country can possess is a robust reservoir of well-informed critical and independent minds".
For our new University of Medical Sciences here in Ondo, which formally cuts its academic teeth from today's matriculation, there are many unique features to bring to the attention of this distinguished audience. It is one of only three Universities of Medical or Health Sciences in Africa South of the Sahara, and indeed the only one of its type in West Africa. It is commencing modestly but confidently and is already endowed with a robust coterie of academic and administrative staff, a number of impressive physical structures both preclinical and clinical. It can also boast an undergraduate population of over 200, all merit-worthy.
Ondo State is very fortunate in having a visionary Chief Executive in the person of H.E. Dr. Olusegun Mimiko CON who often thinks "out of the box", a man who has already positively impacted at the national level and is being constantly applauded by the discerning international community on account of his infinite capacity for innovation, in projects and in programmes. He has chosen as Vice-Chancellor a man well endowed with restless energy and a capacity to fast-track academic development in its various dimensions. We have seen in the past few months how Professor Friday Okonofua FAS has organized seminars, retreats and think-tanks aimed at fostering the lofty ideals of the university. The entire institution comprising the Council, Senate, Faculty and Students is poised on the template of history to make Unimed one of the foremost within the conclave of 141 universities in this country today. I am supremely confident that this will be actualized.
In this noble effort the entire community has been fully supportive and we must specially thank our Royal Father, particularly the Osemawe of Ondo, HRM Oba Victor A. Kiladejo - Jilo III CFR, himself a medical royalty for the many ways in which he has continued to support our fledging institution. Above all, we are greatly in the debt of the National Universities Commission for its unfailing support, from its early stage and I single out our remarkable Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof. Julius Okojie OON for his sustained interest in seeing that we dot 'i's and cross 't's as we continue in our journey. We can only pledge that Unimed will go on to justify the highest expectations.
Today, my charge to matriculating students is for them to take maximal advantage of the unique facilities at their disposal and to pursue faithfully the paradigm of the Total Person. Learning has virtually taken over from orthodox Teaching and our students must from Day One go beyond "Education by the rote". They must understand that intellectual interaction, character building, usefulness to one's community, agile and resourceful minds and capacity to pursue scholarship with modesty are the essential ingredients for meaningful university education.
You are all already part of history and I can only at this point enjoin you as bona fide in statu pupilari to embrace all that is worthy and all that is noble to make your sojourn with us truly fulfilling and memorable.
I thank you.
12 March 2016
Keynote address 3 - NUC Sec
UNIMED Matriculation - Vice Chancellor's Speech