Ms Ruth Morris Keesling-a blessing to the human and animal world is a celebrated American wildlife conservationist who has dedicated her life, resources and purpose for living to the transformation of Makerere University, the advancement of Veterinary Medicine and Wild Life, animal health research and tourism in Uganda, Africa and world over.
During the 65th Graduation Ceremony, the Chancellor will evoke the powers entrusted to him to award a Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) of Makerere University to Ms Ruth Morris Keesling in recognition of her distinguished and selfless contribution to Makerere University, Uganda, the Eastern and Central Africa region and global communities.
Ms Ruth Morris Keesling has made the world a better place! She deserves this prestigious award! Subsequently, the proposal from Mak College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-Security to award Ms Ruth Morris Keesling with a Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) was unanimously endorsed by the Makerere University Senate-the Chief academic organ of this great institution.
Reading her admirable CV, the University Council chaired by Eng. Dr. Charles Wana-Etyem noted that Ms Ruth Morris Keesling, from New Jersey and an alumnus of the University of Colorado, USA had over the years generously contributed to Makerere University’s growth and transformation as well as the human race at the national and international levels. As the University Council unanimously adopted the proposal at its 133rd meeting held on Thursday 11th December 2014, it was evident that Ms Ruth Morris Keesling’s heart and soul were at Makerere University when she selflessly devoted her time and resources in all that she did for the institution.
Born on 4th April 1930 in New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States, Ms Ruth Morris Keesling, grew up in the first small animal hospital in the country, established by her veterinarian father, Dr. Mark L. Morris, in New Jersey. She learned to love animals at an early age. After graduating from the University of Colorado in 1953 with a degree in Journalism, she chose to become a partner in Mark Morris Associates and Theracon Laboratories, the Family’s Animal Nutritional Research Organizations which developed Prescription Diets and Science Diets for dogs and cats.
Since 1948, she has worked as a lifetime Trustee and Executive Committee member to develop the Morris Animal Foundation (MAF), which is dedicated to solving health problems in companion animals and wildlife. Today, MAF is the largest animal-specialist non-governmental organization in the world.
For the last 28 years since 1986, Ruth Morris Keesling has dedicated her energies, finances and time to carry on the gorilla conservation legacy of the late Primatologist Dian Fossey; and has made major contribution to the recovery of the Mountain Gorilla population from 248 at the time to the current estimate of 880.
Contribution to Mak’s mision:
- Ruth Morris Keesling and the veterinarians she was funding initiated collaboration with Makerere University in 1996, through the then Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. She financed an honorary lecturer position to build capacity in wildlife health management from 1996 to 2006.
- She provided supplementary funds for selected Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (BVM) final year students to carry out research and acquire skills in gorilla health. These graduates are now part of the vibrant team of Mountain gorilla and other primate health management specialists in the region.
- She was instrumental in negotiation for establishment of Department of Wildlife and Animal Resources Management (WARM) in 1997 with commitment to provide supplementary budget for the running of WARM over the years.
- Provided supplementary budget and technical support to running a field wildlife course at the Makerere University field station in Lake Mburo National Park
- Established the first computer laboratory and internet connection in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
- Provided funds in 2007 to transform a classroom on the COVAB main block and enable it host a state-of-the Arc Geographical Information Systems (ArcGIS) computer laboratory.
In 2010-2011, an MoU was negotiated and established between Makerere and Ruth Keesling’s organization; Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund (MGCF), to expand WARM in the new Collegiate system. Funds (up to US$ 250,000) have been spent in renovating an old structure to transform it into a Regional Centre of Excellence in Wildlife Health and Management. Ruth was honoured by Makerere University in October 2013 at a donors dedication function by naming the centre after her.
With regard to scholarship for graduate training, Ms Ruth Morris Keesling has committed funds to support Makerere University’s training efforts. Up to 8 full Masters Scholarships and one PhD have been given for graduate training in Wildlife Health and Management. In addition, the Masters in Wildlife Health and Management is being reviewed with tracks to respond to the regional demands that have been expressed by Conservation Institutions and conservation NGOs.
At the national level, Ruth Morris Keesling made a quest for the phylogenetic study in 1990 whose results helped in the determination of the exact phylogeny of the Bwindi gorillas and eventual upgrading mountain gorilla status (Gorilla gorilla beringei). Subsequently, Bwindi Forest Reserve was gazetted as a Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for Mountain Gorilla conservation; National and International funds were secured for establishment of the Management Plans; Mountain gorilla-based tourism began in Bwindi in 1993. Currently there are 13 Mt. gorilla families visited by tourists, each is visited by a maximum of 8 tourists thus generating $ 4800 per day, hence $62400 in total. Gorilla tourism currently contributes up to 50% of Uganda’s national tourism revenue. This sector is the lead foreign exchange earner for Uganda, supporting 20% of the Nation’s GDP.
In the Eastern, Central Africa region and the global communities, Ruth Morris Keesling has contributed to the establishment of the first World Veterinary Clinic dedicated to free-ranging wildlife; knowledge generation and dissemination; and provides leadership in continuation of gorilla ecological research and conservation; to mention but a few.
It is therefore befitting to witness the Orator, Prof. John David Kabasa, Principal, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-Security, on 21st January 2015 citing Ms Ruth Morris Keesling selfless contribution to Mak, Uganda, Africa and global communities, and filled with joy, presenting Ms Ruth Morris Keesling to the Chancellor for the conferment of this prestigious award-Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) of Makerere University.
Congratulations Dr. (h.c.) Ruth Morris Keesling
By Ritah Namisango, Public Relations Office
Uganda’s policymakers implored to address forest loss, plastic & water pollution
The Vice Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe on Thursday 22nd September, 2022 participated in the opening of the EfD Annual meeting hosted by Makerere University at Speke Resort Munyonyo where he appealed to government to implement the ban on kaveera and address other environmental issues.
The opening ceremony moderated by the EfD Global Hub Manager Gunnar Köhlin and was graced by Uganda’s Minister for Water and Environment represented by the Commissioner for Water, Mr. Julius Mafumbo and the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Maria Håkansson.
Prof. Nawangwe urges Makerere University community to support the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative
By Bernard Buteera
Makerere University has launched a two million dollar E-learning Project, dubbed The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative.
The launch was held on Tuesday 20th September 2022 at Makerere University, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium. It attracted over 200 participants, who included members of University Management, College Principals, School Deans, Academic and Administrative staff, students and the general university community.
While addressing the gathering, the Chief Guest, Prof. Mary Okwakol, the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), congratulated Makerere University for winning such a huge grant, which will go a long way in transforming the eLearning infrastructure at Makerere University.
“I am happy to be joining you in launching a project that is at the heart of National Council for Higher Education. Online learning is at the heart of the Council, not only because of the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the world is now a digital world.” Prof. Okwakol remarked.
Prof. Okwakol thanked Mastercard Foundation and other development partners who have continued to support initiatives that help transform higher institutions of learning in Uganda.
“I sincerely thank the Mastercard Foundation and other partners who have continued to support higher education in Uganda, especially in the area of research and online learning. Globally, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, greatly disrupted education systems forcing learners and some schools to shift to virtual learning to curb the spread of the pandemic.” Prof. Okwakol pointed out.
On his part, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe urged the university community, especially the academic staff to take advantage of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning initiative to develop e-content across all Colleges of the University, to enhance capacity for eLearning at Makerere University.
”I appeal to the Colleges to embrace this project and have as many courses adopt this pedagogy development system, even though students will continue with face-to face and phyisical learning, they should be allowed the option of online learning. The platforms that are going to be built, will give our students an opportunity to interact with international students, scholars, teachers and with each other.” Prof. Nawangwe applealed.
The Vice Chancellor, further called upon all other development partners to emulate Mastercard Foundation in supporting Makerere University and other universities on the entire African continent in strengthening digital literacy, so that Africa is not left behind.
”In 2018 I attended a conference on E-learning in Beijing China, where a critical question was asked; Will Africa be left behind again? This was in reference to many advancements that were taking place in the western world, in which Africa had been left behind.” The Vice Chancellor reminded the audience.
Prof. Nawangwe further emphaised the importance of e-learning as one of the critical modes of teaching and learning in the 21st first century.
”Ladies and Gentlemen, I cannot over emphasise the importance we attach to e-learning the 21st Century, that is why we took a decision to elevate the Department of Open and Distance Learning into an Institute of Open and Distance E-learning with an intention of having e-learning extended to other Colleges of the university.” Prof. Nawangwe pointed out.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, and Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the E-learning Initiative, Prof. Umar Kakumba, rallied the University community to support the implementation of the project in the University.
“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative could not have come in at a better time than post COVID19 era. A pandemic, which exposed our systems and methods of teaching and learning. You all recall, when were hit by the pandemic, with lockdowns and closures of institutions of learning, we all went into a panicky mode on how were going to cope with online learning. I therefore call upon every member of the university to give this project the support it deserves.
Prof. Kakumba reminded the audience the importance and relevancy of online learning at Makerere University and other universities in Uganda.
“The online method of learning is best suited for everyone. This digital revolution has led to remarkable changes in how the content is accessed, consumed, discussed, and shared. Office goers and stay home mothers can take up online educational courses too, at the time that suits them. Depending on their availability and comfort, many people choose to learn at weekends or evenings.” Prof. Kakumba remarked.
Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Coordinator of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative, informed the audience the importance of the project and the expected outcomes for the University.
“The Mastercard Foundation e- Learning Initiative is a Project funded by Mastercard Foundation aimed at addressing the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic that constrained access and continuity of teaching, learning, research and community engagement activities at Makerere University” Prof. Muyinda pointed out.
Prof. Muyinda further thanked the team that he worked with in putting up the proposal in a very short time that yielded such an important grant for the University.
“I thank the team that spent sleepless nights putting together the proposal that resulted into this project. I must report that Makerere University is privileged to be having the most highly qualified persons in online instruction design and online pedagogy at the IODeL and beyond. It is now up to Makerere University in particular and the Country in general to make use of these persons to transform the terrain of online, blended distance and e-learning education.” Prof. Muyinda remarked.
Prof. Justine Namaalwa, the Program Coordinator for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, informed the audience, that the E-learning initiative was one of the many partnerships between Mastercard Foundation and Makerere University geared at supporting the young people to succeed on the African continent.
“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program continues to recognize that in order to enable young people across Africa to succeed, there is need to; Address systemic barriers in Higher education, Strengthen the capacity of Institutions that serve the Young People, and Support innovative solutions across critical sectors.” Prof. Namaalwa remarked.
The colourful launch ended with a panel discussion in which panelists digested the importance and opportunities for open distance and eLearning in higher institutions of learning.
Bernard Buteera is the Communications Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.
Supplementary Admissions to Bachelor of Laws Under Private Sponsorship 2022/23
The Academic Registrar, Makerere University, informs applicants wishing to be admitted to Bachelor of Laws Private for 2022/2023 Academic year but failed to submit their application online to submit their applications from Friday 23rd to Friday 30th September, 2022 at a non-refundable fee of 50,000/= (Fifty thousand shillings only).
The applicants MUST have passed the Pre-entry Examinations for Bachelor of Laws.
Diploma/Degree holders should submit certified copies of their academic transcript to Room
315 Level 3, Senate Building.
Applicants who have already been admitted need not apply.
For any additional information, contact Undergraduate Admissions Offices 301/303 for A’Level Applicants and Office 315 for Diploma/Degree holders.
ALFRED MASIKYE NAMOAH
AG. ACADEMIC REGISTRAR
Date: 22nd September, 2022
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