It is always a great pleasure to come back to my Alma Mater, Ghana’s premier university, the University of Ghana, and to its beautiful campus, which brings a lot of very fond memories to me.
I am especially grateful to the Vice Chancellor for the opportunity to be a part of the events leading up to the 70th anniversary celebrations of the University.
Anniversaries inevitably beget memories, and, for me, the most poignant of those memories is the inestimable work Dr. J.B. Danquah did to mobilise the Ghanaian people to insist on the building of this University.
It was the inspired, visionary leadership of this great scholar and nationalist, who was described in his lifetime as the Doyen of Gold Coast politics, that enabled the Ghanaian people to reject the original decision of the colonial government that a single university be established in Ibadan, in Nigeria, for British West Africa, and get it to agree to the establishment of a separate university for our country.
How felicitous was that decision, and how greatly it has contributed to the growth of modern Ghana. It would be wholly appropriate and not at all farfetched to describe Joseph Boakye Danquah as the founder of this University, a fact, which, on the 70th anniversary of its existence, should be vividly recalled by all of us who are the beneficiaries of his work.
Vice Chancellor, Ladies and gentlemen, seventy years in the life of any institution is no mean feat! Indeed, from modest beginnings in 1948, the University College of Gold Coast, as it was known then, has evolved into one of Africa’s leading universities.
Today, there is worldwide recognition for the excellence of the University’s faculty and students, and also for the professional successes chalked by her alumni both at home and abroad.
Forgive me for rubbing it in, but 3 out of the 5 Presidents elected in the 4th Republic have been produced here. The University continues to be a proud pacesetter, mentoring and nurturing several higher institutions and think tanks in the country.
Over the years, the University has lived up to its mission of developing world-class human resources and capabilities to meet our nation’s development needs, and global challenges.
Indeed, the University continues to be the centre of many scientific and technological innovations.
The diversity of her research efforts and output in various disciplines including social sciences, law, natural sciences, medicine, agriculture, environment and energy, have been acclaimed internationally.
It is, thus, laudable and appropriate that the University is establishing an Endowment Fund, in this anniversary year, to provide additional funding and resources to enable the University improve upon the delivery on its mandate.
The proceeds from the Fund are to assist in the provision of additional facilities to enhance research and teaching. This is an excellent initiative. Endowment Funds, such as this, constitute the fulcrum around which most world-class universities in the world operate.
My government fully supports and shares in your vision to become a research-intensive university, and we will do all in our power to help you actualize this.
I urge the University of Ghana, and indeed all tertiary institutions in the country, to find innovative and effective ways of linking up with industry and the corporate world, to engage in quality, strategic research, targeted at finding practical solutions to real life challenges of our society, and thereby actualize research findings to the benefit of our country.
Indeed, pursuant to our manifesto promise to establish a Research Fund in addition to the Book and Research Allowance to facilitate further research and innovation, I am pleased to inform you that this is currently receiving the active consideration at Cabinet level, and I am confident that, shortly, it will be established by Act of Parliament.
I congratulate, once again, the University of Ghana on her 70th-anniversary celebrations, and, accordingly, I declare the University of Ghana @ 70 Endowment Fund duly launched.
May God bless us all, and our homeland Ghana, and make her great and strong.