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Makerere Honors Ms Ruth Morris Keesling



Makerere University has honored Ms. Ruth Morris Keesling, an American Philanthropist in a colorful ceremony, presided over by Prof. John David Kabasa, Principal, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB). The ceremony, attended by University officials, staff, students and partners, was held at the Ruth Keesling Wildlife Health and Research Centre, CoVAB, on 5th October 2013.

Ms. Ruth Keesling, who was accompanied by her husband Tom and other family members, was honored for her commitment to funding and promoting research particularly, on Mountain Gorillas. Since 1983 when Ruth Keesling first saw the gorillas as a tourist, she has shown commitment to their conservation and even promoted research that elevated the level of gorillas in Uganda to Mountain Gorillas.  Due to her strong commitment to the conservation of the Mountain Gorillas, Ruth Keesling used to travel to Uganda every year to monitor her initiatives in wildlife veterinary medicine. These initiatives led to among others, the establishment of the Department of Wildlife and Aquatic Animal Resources at CoVAB, which has been instrumental in capacity building in the field of wildlife veterinary medicine in Uganda.

Dr. John Bosco Nizeyi, a wildlife Veterinary Doctor and lecturer at CoVABB who has been working closely with Ms. Keesling for many years appreciated the work she has done not only for Makerere University but for Uganda at large. Dr. Nizeyi noted that Ruth Keesling has for the last 11 years sponsored more than 10 Ugandan students to train in wildlife health and management at Graduate level. Some of the programs that resulted from her efforts to create awareness of and save the Mountain Gorillas include the Msc in Wildlife Health & Management, Msc in Wildlife Tourism & Recreation Management and Bsc in Wildlife Health & Management.

Dr. Nizeyi further stated that what Ms. Keesling started has taken Makerere University a step towards becoming a regional center of excellence in wildlife health, research and surveillance.

Ms. Ruth Keesling reads her statement at the dedication of the Keesling Centre on 5th Oct 2013, CoVAB, Makerere University, Kampala UgandaRuth Keesling also established the gorilla veterinary clinic in 1986 and has since then, spent millions of her own money and also held fundraising drives that attracted more partners, who together have put more effort in saving the gorillas from extinction. She said that her love for the Mountain Gorillas started when she met the late primatologist, Dr. Dian Fossey who was committed to the conservation of gorillas.

“After looking into the eyes of a Mountain Gorilla, I became committed to helping her (Dian Fossey) and the gorillas”, said the elderly Ruth Keesling.

She commended all those who have over the years partnered with her for their work. “Each and every partner should be very proud of the tremendous work you do that has protected the Mountain Gorilla,” Ms. Keesling stressed.

Ms. Keesling has continued to carry the late Dian Fossey’s dream to save the Mountain Gorillas to the extent of funding the establishment of the Ruth Keesling Wildlife Health and Research Centre, expected to become a regional center ofexcellence and destination for scientists and researchers in Mountain Gorilla medicine and conservation. The center will also promote wildlife education and gorilla tourism. The center, which is housed by the Wildlife Department, CoVAB, comprises offices, laboratories, a bio-bank and lecture rooms. There is also a “Keesling garden’ that was planted by students from Eckerd College, Florida and Makerere University, which provides an experience of a mock safari for those who have never experienced an actual safari in the jungle.

Under the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund (MGCF) which in 2010 signed an MoU with Makerere University, Ms. Keesling has been at the forefront of raising money to conserve the Mountain Gorilla. As a result of Mrs. Keesling’s efforts, the Mountain Gorilla population has grown from 248 at the time of Dr. Fossey’s death to 880 today, meaning that her efforts have resulted into an additional 632 gorillas having been produced in the last 28 years.

FranK Keesling, Ruth’s son promised his Mother that he would carry on her dream by working hard towards conservation of the Mountain Gorillas.

“I promise you, just like you promised Dr. Diane Fossey 28 years ago, that we will keep your dream alive,” Frank Keesling said.

Partners present at the event were British Airways, Uganda Wildlife Authority, Gorilla doctors, all of whom received awards from the Keesling family for their support towards Mountain Gorilla conservation in Uganda.


Article by Jovia Musubika Kavulu, Communication Office, CoVAB

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4th Call For Applications: MURBS Departmental Ambassadors



URBRA’s Mrs. Ritah Nansasi Wasswa (2nd L) assisted by Ag. University Secretary-Mr. Yusuf Kiranda (L) hands over a plaque of recognition to Outgoing Trustee-Ms. Dorothy Nannozi Kabanda (2nd R) as Incoming Trustee-Ms. Franco Angida Mugyema (R) applauds during the MURBS Board Handover on 26th March 2021.

In February 2018, the Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS) launched the Departmental Ambassadors Programme. MURBS hopes to use this Ambassadors Programme to engage more directly with its membership and enhance member education. MURBS further perceives this Programme as a means to mitigate succession planning risks.

MURBS Fund Value continues to grow, and as at 31st March 2021, it stood at Ushs 235.5bn as compared to Ushs 209.6bn as at 30th June 2020. Given this growth, there is increased need for prospective Trustees, who are well equipped with relevant knowledge and skills, and with practical exposure to the management and governance of MURBS.


  1. Must be employed by the University on permanent terms
  2. Must be an Active Member of the Scheme (currently contributing to the Scheme) and appear on the Official Register of the MURBS Active Membership as at 30th April 2021.
  3. Must be willing to commit time to trainings and other ambassadorial activities organised by the Scheme.

Mode of training for 4th Cohort of Ambassadors

Training for this (4th) Cohort of Ambassadors is envisaged to be conducted over the zoom online platform only, due to Covid-19 restrictions. The Scheme does not envisage any face-to-face interactions.

Tenure of Office & Termination or Withdrawal

There is no tenure of office for the Departmental Ambassador. As long as a member is willing to continue serving as an Ambassador, and the Ambassador continues to satisfy the eligibility criteria above, she or he will remain a MURBS Ambassador.

How to Apply

Interested members should complete the MURBS Departmental Ambassador Application Form 01-0218. The completed Form together with the requested attachments should be sent to info[at] and copy to wilber.naigambi[at] no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, 14th June 2021. We discourage hand delivery of applications.

Confirmation/Approval Process

MURBS shall acknowledge receipt of each application received within 12 hours and will respond to the applicants to confirm the status of their application in writing (by e-mail). Upon approval of the application, the name of the approved Ambassador together with the Department and School/Unit will be updated on the list of the MURBS Departmental Ambassadors in the Group 4 category and published on the MURBS website.

NOTE: There is no limit as to the number of ambassadors that MURBS can have in a department.

Please see Downloads for the detailed call and application form.

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Chair Council Communication on Closure of Makerere University



An older photo of the Main Building, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda as seen from across the Freedom Square. Date taken: 22nd October 2012.

7th June 2021

All Members of Staff
All Students and Stakeholders
Makerere University


Following the address to the Nation by H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda, on 6th June 2021, this is to inform you that the University will be closed with effect from today 7th June 2021 for 42days.

During the closure, the University shall observe a 30% physical presence of staff while other faculty and administrative staff shall continue to work online.

Management will inform staff and students on the implementation of teaching, learning, and research activities online. Construction activities shall continue as per the President’s directives and with strict adherence to the COVID-19 SOPs.

Yours sincerely,

Lorna Magara (Mrs.)
Chairperson, Makerere University Council

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RUFORUM: Transforming Higher Education Videos and Links



Delegates brainstorm during the 15th RUFORUM AGM held at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) in Ghana from 2-6 December, 2019. Photo credit: RUFORUM

Video Series developed by Julieta Mazzola, EARTH University.


  1. What is Community Engagement?  Video 1 of 3.
  2. Different Forms of University Engagement with the Community. Video 2 of 3.
  3. Student learning through Community Engagement. Video 3 of 3.

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