Deputy Vice Chancellors, Registrars, Deans and Directors, CODs, Staff, Student Leaders, First Year Students of Machakos University –the ‘’Freshers’’,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to Machakos University. I wish to congratulate each and every “fresher”, first on having secured your admission to this University and second, for having chosen Machakos University as your University of choice. Your choice was not a mistake, Machakos University puts students at the centre of everything; your student life experience here and your success is important to every member of Machakos University. As your Vice Chancellor, I say feel at home, you are welcome.
We are gathered here for a very important activity. One that marks the end of your orientation program and begins your academic journey. The orientation It is about knowing the University programs, rules, regulations, way of life and setting goals to chart your future as you journey through your life. I know that the orientation program has covered all these.
My remarks today however are based on you as University youth of this country.
For all the youth gathered here today and as you plan to navigate your way through life at the University I want you to know that this country belongs to you. From every background, walk of life, rank and file. If you come from an underprivileged family or privileged family, educated or not, know that you are part of the proud Kenyan story. The mixture of our ethnic com munities, the diverse languages and the blending of our cultures and talents have made us who we are as Kenyans. Kenya is one of the most innovative countries in Africa due to the contributions of the youth. Look at our athletes; we are simply the country to beat in Africa.
In case you are coming from marginalized communities or from needy families or from gender biased homes or communities, I want you to know that there are many people who started like you; with little money, no hope, and no predictable future.
Yet through hard work, creativity, innovation and the entrepreneurship of the Kenyan spirit, we now boast of having the most successful entrepreneurs. Kenya is currently ranked third in Africa in innovations which can be attributed to young graduants from our Universities and TVET institutions. I want you to know that through hard work, creativity and innovation; anything is possible, you can emulate Bill Gates Founder of Microsoft and a great philanthropist or Jack Ma started out as analyst the Co-founder of the largest e-commerce platform of Kenya. Kenya is great because of its tribal diversity which is our strength. As a secular country, freedom of worship is provided for in our constitution hence we should be tolerant of other religions different from our own.
As a Kenyan youth, you should take pride in your diversity, this is your heritage. This is what makes us who we are as Kenyans. Machakos University is a national University having all the facets and communities of what Kenya is. As an institution we are a political
As the youth of this country I know it has been said again and again, you are the leaders of tomorrow: that is true. Look at the Sakaja, Babu Owino, Jaguar, Martha Wangari, Churchills, Bahati- the entertainment icon-these are the youthful leaders and role model who are shaping the landscape of our country. We have several young parliamentarians and senators who are drafting in the National Assembly bills that address issues facing the youth of today, which is commendable.
I would like to remind you, though, that these youth never arrived where they are without hard work or strategy or mentorship- they had good education, went through Universities, they worked hard and they earned their place in our Kenyan history.
At Machakos University we are mentoring young people by not only giving them quality education through our University academic programs but giving them values Kenyans should be proud of. As students of this University, you must uphold certain basic values. Some of these will include: respect for the rights of others, differences and dignity of others; honesty and integrity in all dealings; commitment to the pursuit of excellence in your academic work; and accountability for your actions and for your conduct. Remember choices have consequences.
I wish to caution against of inappropriate behavior. Any student found guilty of disrupting the normal academic business of the University will face dire consequences. In addition, any student who breaks the laws of the land will be treated like any other Kenyan and will be handed over to the police. Should you commit any crime, it will follow you throughout your life –your name will be in the police file and in your university file forever. I do not think any employer will recruit a “stone thrower” or a drug dealer from a university anymore!
University life will accord you a lot of freedom, which has its own social risks. I urge you to keep off activities that will not contribute positively to your future. Such activities include: use of drugs, destructive habits, bad association, among others. The choice of who to associate with is yours; the sort of company you keep determines how empowered you will be or how it will lower your opportunities.
I urge all of you to lead responsible lives and avoid risky behaviors, let abstinence be the norm and if you cannot, please use protection which is available in our Health Unit. Engage in team work, participate in community activities, social clubs and sports and games to develop your body, intellect and to remain healthy.
Today, we induct you formally into the University community, with other orientation activities until you start your classes next week. This orientation week prepares you for what could be the most rewarding experiences in your life as you embark on building your career at Machakos University.
As I close, remember that education is the bedrock of social and economic development. Throughout history, philosophers like Aristotle and Plato recognized the importance of education. This was amplified in the words of John F. Kennedy, the Thirty-fifth President of the USA and I quote “Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which if fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation”
With these few remarks, I wish you every success and most fulfilling life experience at Machakos University.
PROF. LUCY W. IRUNGU, Ph.D.
PROFESSOR OF ENTOMOLOGY