Makerere University 67th Graduation Ceremony kicks off: A total of 14,897 students to be awarded degrees and diplomas. 663 graduate from CAES. Member of staff, Alex Nimusiima Confered a PhD in Climate Sciences.


The Vice Chancellor Prof. John Ddumba Ssentamu (Front) leading the procession to the Freedom Square

The first session of the Makerere University 67th four-day Graduation Ceremony kicked off on  21st February, 2017at the University Freedom Square. The ceremony was presided over by the Chancellor, Makerere University  Prof. Ezra Suruma and also attended by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda, the Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda..

At this  67th Graduation  a total of Fourteen Thousand, Four Hundred and Ninety Seven (14,897) students will be awarded degrees and diplomas of Makerere University. Of these, 45.9% are female and 54.1% are male graduands. Seventy Five (75) are Doctoral students of whom 24 are female and 51 male.

On the first day, candidates from four (4) Colleges, who successfully met the requirements for the award of degrees and diplomas of Makerere University were presented to the Chancellor.

The College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology graduated Six Hundred and Ninety Seven (697) students including three (3) PhDs. The College of Natural Sciences presented Four Hundred and Fifteen (415) students including ten (10) PhDs. The College of Education and External Studies presented a total of One Thousand, Three Hundred and Eighty Four (1384) graduands, including Eight (8) PhDs.

The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) graduated a total of  Six Hundred Sixty Three (663) graduands. Of these, Ten (10 )were PhDs and Eighty nine (89) Masters . Five Hundred Sixty Four (564) were  Bachelors degrees.


The Chancellor, Prof. Ezra Suruma confers a Doctorate to CAES staff Alex Nimusiima

In his speech, the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, congratulated all Graduands upon reaching this important milestone in their respective lives. He also recognised Parents, Guardians and Sponsors upon a job well done.

The Premiere said that government was appreciative of the role that Makerere University plays in training vital human resources for the region despite the many challenges the institution was facing.

Dr. Rugunda expressed government commitment in solving Makerere University’s problems.On 14th November 2016, Dr. Rugunda said, His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni appointed a Visitation Committee led by Dr. Abel Rwendeire to inquire into the affairs of Makerere University.

“I have been informed that the Visitation Committee has received full cooperation from the Management, Staff and Students of Makerere University and I thank you for that. We look forward to the successful conclusion of the Visitation Committee’s work and to receiving the recommendations of the Committee”. The Prime Minister said.

Dr. Rugunda also reported that Government was fully committed to supporting the vibrant Higher Education Sector of Uganda.

“We recognize that we need to pay regionally competitive wages in order to attract and retain quality academic staff. We therefore remain committed to increasing the salaries of staff in public universities. Despite severe constraints in the national budget we shall progressively increase staff wages until the salary level which His Excellency the President promised you has been achieved”. The Premier said.

The Premiere also said Government has been consistently committed to the growth and expansion of the national infrastructure in general and educational infrastructure in particular.


Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda making his remarks

He reported that Government secured a grant through the African Development Bank to fund the infrastructure and laboratory construction and renovation at Makerere University and other public institutions. He appealed to the University Management to ensure that all construction works remain on schedule.

In June 2016, the Prime Minister told the congregation  that Government established a committee to review Makerere University's Fees Policy which has successfully completed its work after receiving contributions from both students and stakeholders. He urged all parties to continue abiding by the new Fees Policy in order to ensure financial health and sustainability of Makerere University.  

“I also want to urge all our students and staff to embrace dialogue at all levels as a means of solving conflicts. I urge the University community to endeavor to be a prime example of peaceful dialogue and solutions as opposed to violence and industrial action. I appeal to you all to uphold personal and institutional integrity and to treat one another with respect and humility”,  Dr. Rugunda advised.

Dr. Rugunda  also said Government was fully committed to supporting the youth to advance their careers through various programmes, initiatives and innovations. He cited the  launch of  the Young Achievers Awards 2017, on 23rd January, 2017which was organized under the theme of “Rewarding Innovation and Excellence and Inspiring the Next Generation of World Leaders”.  He added that  Government supports and appreciates such initiatives by the youth to develop, mentor and enhance the skills of youth through innovations.


Dr. Tanga Odoi- Convocation Chairman (L) and Dr. Rugunda unveiling the plan to fence the university

He urged graduands to take advantage of the Government financed Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP) under the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development. He expressed confidence that the Livelihood Support Component, which takes up 70% of the funding will be of great benefit to them.

He  advised graduands that now more than ever before, they  will be hard-pressed to exercise their creativity, intellectual capacities and endurance to achieve success.  

“Your knowledge is going to be tested in the rough fields beyond academia. Be of good cheer. The faith and perseverance that has brought you this far is still available to sustain you through the decades that lie ahead of you. I welcome you into the arena of life beyond the university and I wish you every success in your lives.” The Prime Minister advised.

Dr. Rugunda also urged granduands  to use the acquired skills and knowledge to add value to the betterment of society and transformation of Africa.

 “Today, there are challenges you are facing as students, staff and Ugandans, but there is peace. The environment is peaceful. You can study and conduct research. Take advantage of the peace to undertake teaching and learning, research and innovations.” He noted.

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A section of the  CAES PhD Graduands

The Chancellor Makerere University Prof. Ezra Suruma commended Hon.Prime Minister, Dr.Ruhakana Rugunda, for sparing his most valuable time to honour this ceremony with his presence and  all the efforts made by the  University faculty, staff and Administration towards the implementation of this occasion.  

He also  recognized  the contributions of various institutions and organizations towards the University notably, the Government of Uganda, the Makerere University Council, the Senate, the students, the development partners and all stakeholders, especially the parents, for the vital role played in supporting Makerere University to pursue its monumental educational vision of academic excellence and innovation in Africa and beyond.

The Chancellor commended the spirit of hard work, endurance and  self-control that has brought the graduands this far.

“The degrees we are awarding you today testify to the hardships, the discipline, the commitment, the pain and the tears you have shed over the years and decades of academic struggle. Your graduation testifies to the world that in the face of all adversity, poverty, deprivation, doubt and danger, you possessed the determination to strive on, to rise after the fall and today you are counted among the survivors, the heroes of intellectual battles”. Prof. Suruma remarked.

Prof. Suruma also appreciated  the academic, administrative and support staff whose guidance has helped to bring  graduands to this day. He told graduands that Makerere University staff had  done their part to guide them through the complexities of academic life. He challenged graduands to always remember staff enduring contribution to their lives.

The Chancellor also implored graduands to join him in thanking all those men and women whose love and sacrifice has contributed to your achievements.


A section of parents seated in a separate tent in the Freedom square

“Equally significant has been the social, emotional and financial support that you have received continually from your parents, relatives, friends, religious leaders and fellow students. Many among you have been supported by generous donors who provided you stipends and scholarships”

The Chancellor challenged agricultural students to turn challenges into opportunities just like young people, fellow students, Professors and Ugandans who have come up with innovations; conducted research for the betterment of society as well as development of products and employment opportunities.

“To the graduands from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, you have acquired knowledge that focused on improving agriculture and sustainable natural resource use. These are part of the special pillars that can deliver a better Africa and a better Uganda.  I am therefore confident that you are ready, well-educated, and deeply committed to making the world more food secure, more prosperous and more sustainable.”He said.

The Chancellor congratulate the team from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences for establishing the first ever centre of Excellence in Waste Management in Uganda at Makerere University geared towards  turning waste into opportunity.


A section of the CAES Masters graduands

The Vice Chancellor Makerere University, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu described the graduation ceremony as the time that graduands together with their parents and guardians mark the conclusion of a worthwhile academic journey.

In a special way, the Vice Chancellor  welcomed the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda describing him as are a great alumnus who continues to provide support to Makerere University in various aspects.

“I recall you played a major role in the formulation of the revised Makerere University Tuition Policy. We are indeed much honored by your presence at this occasion. Through you Sir, we extend great thanks to the Government of Uganda for all the support to Makerere University, which is enabling us fulfill our vision To be the Leading Institution for Academic Excellence and Innovations in Africa”, The VC stated.

Prof. John Ddumba- Ssentamu also said, the 67th Graduation Ceremony was special because the university was officially unveiling the Makerere University Graduation Gown, which is professionally designed with unique and special features.

“Some of the graduands today are wearing the customized Gown, which is in line with our strategic direction of enhancing the University brand. With effect from the next Graduation Ceremony, all graduands will be expected to wear the approved official Makerere University Graduation Gown”, The VC said.


The Vice Chancellor Prof. John Ddumba Ssentamu addressing the congregation

The Vice Chancellor  thanked the team at the Ministry for the support towards Makerere University  and  particularly the First Lady and Hon. Minister of Education and Sports for all her support and guidance to Makerere University. He pledged the university’s commitment to ensuring a positive working relationship towards strengthening higher education in Uganda.    

The VC also expressed appreciation to the entire staff of Makerere University for their dedicated service that has enabled Makerere University to fulfill her core functions and the nation at large, in spite of the various challenges.

“I congratulate all staff and students whose brilliant innovations have excelled at local and international levels. Thank you for keeping Makerere University visible. Because of your hard work, Makerere University, according to the Times Higher Education, is ranked number three (3) on the African Continent in terms of research output and publication”. He said.

The Vice Chancellor  reported that since the last Graduation Ceremony, 8 Members of Staff have been promoted to the Rank of Professor while 19 have risen to the rank of Associate Professor.

As an Economist, Prof. Ddumba- Ssentamu said there was positive correlation between the number of Professors in the University and salary enhancement.


Some of the  Makerere University staff attending the graduation ceremony

“At this juncture, therefore, I would like to thank His Excellency the President of the Republic of Uganda, for his commitment to the salary enhancement of Professors up to the tune of UGX 15 million. I am positive that the number of Professors is going to increase when the salary reaches UGX 15 million.”

The Vice chancellor also reported that Makerere University faces a number of challenges which can be overcome by the combined effort of all stakeholders including the Government, Chancellor, Council, Senate, Management, Staff (including Staff Associations), Students, Parents as well as Alumni.

“We need to engage in positive dialogue and negotiations, towards fostering the continued progress of Makerere University. I sincerely thank His Excellency The President of Uganda and Visitor of Makerere University, for appointing a Visitation Committee to look into the affairs of Makerere University. We are hopeful that the recommendations of this Committee will bring about lasting solutions to our challenges”. The VC stated.

The Vice Chancellor pointed out that major challenge the university was facing was inadequate funding. In that regard, he commended the University Council Chaired by Eng. Dr. Charles Wana-Etyem, for establishing the Makerere University Endowment Fund and the Makerere University Holdings Company Limited, as channels of resource mobilization.


MDD students entertaining the congregation

Prof. Ddumba informed the congregation  that the Board of Trustees of the Makerere University Endowment Fund chaired by Dr. Martin Aliker, was organising an Endowment Fund RUN on April 2, 2017, to compliment its resource mobilisation efforts and to create awareness among alumni, friends and well wishers about the Fund.

“I take this opportunity to call upon our congregation today including Graduands, Students, Staff, Parents and Guardians as well as all well-wishers to purchase Tickets and T-shirts for the Run, which are on currently on sale. Please register and support Makerere University Endowment Fund, whose goal is to expand the resource base of the University”

The Vice  Chancellor reported that  a number of developments and achievements had taken place over the past year.  These included the Senate and Council re-structuring of the academic programmes in line with the National Development Agenda. The academic programmes have been reduced from 450 to 253.

The other achievement was the acquisition of an additional Twelve Thousand, Four Hundred and Sixty Seven (12,467) square meters of space to support teaching and learning as well as research processes. The University Strategic Plan highlights the need to have in place centralized teaching facilities as a mechanism for management of large student numbers. The commissioning of the Centralised Teaching facilities is expected to take place in July this year.


Some of the CAES undergraduate students jubilating as their names are read by the Chancellor

The VC  thanked the Government of Uganda, through the Ministry of Education and Sports, for securing a loan from the African Development Bank to support science and technology in Higher Education Institutions.

The other notable achievement according the Prof. Ddumba was the facelift  in the University road infrastructure including drainages, pavements, street lights, and sidewalks.The total cost of this major infrastructural uplift is UGX 6 billion. These works will not only enhance the beauty of the Main Campus but also improve the safety of the entire Makerere University community.

In addressing the issue of falsification of academic records, the Vice Chancellor assured the public and all stakeholders that Makerere University has the duty to guard jealously and secure the integrity of its academic credentials. He added that without integrity, research cannot be trusted.

“Academic credentials cannot be relied upon and all degrees and diplomas lose their value. Makerere University Senate can recall any degree or diploma in cases where they were granted in error. It is regrettable that 58 names appeared in the graduation booklet in error but I am happy to inform you that they have been deleted. I wish to thank the staff who identified this anomaly”, Prof. Ddumba re-assured.


Council Chair, Eng. Wana Etyem and Prof. John Ddumba- Ssentamu during the graduation ceremony

The Vice Chancellor commended CAES for establishing the first ever Centre of Excellence in Waste Management in Uganda. The Centre is the outcome of an initial research project on the utilisation of urban market crop wastes in crop/livestock production systems. The Centre will act as a research, technology incubation and dissemination unit hence strengthening linkages with the private sector. He  commended  Professor Elly Sabiiti-the Coordinator of the Centre, and the entire Team in the College for this initiative. The VC  extended  special thanks to the Government of Sweden, Bank of Uganda and the AU/EU for supporting the establishment of the Centre.

Prof. Ddumba also recognized CAES  researchers  for the leading innovations such as the solar powered irrigation pump, bio diesel from heavy plastics and the organic pesticide from agricultural waste.

In partnership with Perdue University in Indiana USA, the College with Prof. Noble Banadda as Principal Investigator developed a Solar-powered Irrigation pump as a cheap and reliable solution for small scale farmers. The irrigation pump was demonstrated and launched on 5th January 2017 by the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda. The entire system can be assembled at a cost of UGX 3.65 million.

In partnership with the University of Kentucky, USA, the CAES also came up with a new technology of converting heavy plastics into bio diesel. The innovation was the first of its kind in the country and promotes the utilisation of waste polythene bags/plastics, while addressing the problem of hazards caused by poor disposal of polythene bags in the country. The bio diesel can be used in motor vehicle engines, generators, lighting in the house and charcoal stoves, among others.

Researchers in the CAES  also developed an organic pesticide from agricultural wastes that can be used by farmers to control pests like the red ants.

In a special way, the Vice Chancellor also congratulated all Members of Staff who graduated as well as the children, spouses and relatives of Members of Staff. CAES’ Alex Nimusiima, a staff from the Department of Geography, Geo informatics and Climatic Sciences was conferred a PhD in Climate Sciences.


Now Dr. Alex Nimusiima from CAES

To the Graduands, Prof John Ddumba-Ssentamu reminded them that the job market they were joining comprises many who have gone through the same gates of Makerere University.

“Make use of this resource through networking, as you make your way in today’s competitive global marketplace. We have given you the tools. It is now up to you to use them appropriately. We wish you success and may you always remember your alma mater, Makerere University. May God bless you always.” The VC advised.

Report compiled by:

Jane Anyango

Communication Officer, CAES