Four hundred and eighty (480) graduands on Saturday received Postgraduate degrees and diplomas of the University of Nigeria in what the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Benjamin Ozumba, described as “the highest by any Nigerian university in one year.”
The university also conferred honorary doctorate degrees on three distinguished Nigerians. The Group Managing Director of Access Bank Herbert Wigwe, former executive secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) Mr. Reginald Chika Stanley, and then the Managing Director of the Dozzy Group, Sir Daniel Chukwudozie, who bagged the degrees, said they felt ‘greatly honoured’ to be associated with the University of Nigeria in such capacity.
Ozumba said the honour conferred on the three Nigerians was “not a knee-jerk decision” but a product of careful appraisal of their contribution to the nation and mankind. He specifically pointed out Wigwe’s successful efforts in moving Access Bank to its “present status as one of the top banks from 16th position to number six in just 10 years.”
He said the banker’s idea of establishing a chair for the university was worthy of emulation.
The vice chancellor also described Reginald Stanley as a successful Nigerian who served the country as a technocrat and has, since his retirement, continued to make a positive impact in the private sector. Ozumba said the third awardee, Chukwudozie, was a philanthropist who had made an immense contribution to the growth and welfare of many Nigerians.
At least, 480 of the 2,113 graduands, who were conferred with postgraduate degrees of the university by the Chancellor and Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Akande, were Ph.D candidates.
Eleven retired professors of UNN, one of who were Professor Uche Azikiwe, the wife of the founder and wife of Nigeria’s first president, the late Nnamdi Azikiwe, were elevated to the university’s club of “Emeritus Professors of the University of Nigeria.”
Vice-chancellor Ozumba said the 480 doctorate degree awardees represent 22.7 percent of the 2,113 postgraduates who, like their 9,702 first degree and diploma counterparts, had fulfilled the standard requirements of character and learning as stipulated in the school’s regulations.
Describing the figure as ‘unprecedented’ and ‘remarkable,’ the vice chancellor explained that the significant increase in the number of postgraduate degrees awarded at last weekend’s graduation “reflects a deliberate response to the mandate given to first-generation universities to increase the enrolment of postgraduate students.
“I’m quite pleased that my staff have been able to adapt to the additional challenge placed upon them by the increased enrolment without necessarily compromising on the standard for which the university was known,” Ozumba said on Sunday.
The (grand finale) second day of the 48th convocation ceremony was set aside for the purpose of conferring the postgraduate degrees and diplomas. It followed the previous day’s event at which 9,702 were awarded first degrees, diplomas and certificates of the university. – Guardian.