The internationally revered Kenyan marathoner, Eliud Kipchoge has been awarded an honorary degree by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology during the institution’s 41st convocation ceremony held on Friday, December 1, 2023.
JKUAT Chancellor Prof. Joseph Mathu Ndung’u conferred Kipchoge with Doctor of Humane Letters (Honoris Causa), in recognition of the athlete’s outstanding philanthropic and humanitarian footprints which have had immense impact beyond the sporting arena.
The two-time Olympic champion became the first human being in history to run a marathon under two hours. Kipchoge’s pet humanitarian subjects include environmental conservation and education inclusivity.
In his acceptance speech, the freshly crowned Kipchoge noted that the honorary degree from JKUAT was not only a personal honor 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 among the 4,775 graduands who were honoured during the ceremony themed fostering quality training, research, innovation and entrepreneurship for sustainable development. Twenty-five doctorates and 315 masters degrees were conferred at the event.
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.
The Cabinet Secretary’s remarks were delivered by Prof. Walter Oyawa, Director General, National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation.
JKUAT Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Mathu Ndung’u said that the University is currently implementing a pilot study aimed at decarbonising Kenya’s transport sector. The Audi-funded e-mobility project involves the provision of electric motorcycles and solar- powered charging points in Muranga 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 a preferred university due to the quality of its academic programmes which answer to market demands while supporting Kenya’s development agenda.
“During 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 Council, Dr. Micah Onsando said JKUAT remains committed to quality service delivery in all its training and research programmes. 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 own 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 graduation’s valedictorian speech was delivered by Benjamin Ochieng Mbuya who graduated top of his class with a bachelors degree in radiography. Mboya noted that JKUAT had provided a good springboard for the graduands to earn competitive knowledge and launch different career pursuits.
“We have gained invaluable knowledge, made enduring friendships, and discovered the resilience within ourselves to overcome obstacles,” Mboya said.