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
WHS Regional Meeting Africa 2021: Finance Chairperson’s Update
SOPs: Our plan is to have 200 sets of people in different spacious rooms…Prof. Tonny j. oyana, finance chairperson whs regional meeting africa
We are sincerely grateful to our sponsors…
Over 15 core sponsors…
Sessions: 60% Virtual, 40% Onsite…
HERS-EA Fourth Leadership Academy
The Higher Education Resource Services-East Africa (HERS-EA) provides an intensive residential one-week leadership and management development curriculum focused on women, mainly in higher education institutions and administration.
In response to the current Covid-19 pandemic, HERS-EA Fourth Academy will be a totally virtual one. As such, the Academy previously scheduled to take place between June 28th – July 3rd has been postponed by one week to July 5th-9th.
Theme: “Positioning Women for Leadership in Higher Education”
A. Institutional Development
1. Managing and Leading Change
2. Reframing Organizations for effective work
3. Developing Effective Partnerships in Higher Education for Women and gender focused advancement
B. Personal Development
4. Career Mapping/building dossier/personal development
5. Professional Women’s economic empowerment through Enterprise development and management for profit maximization
6. Research and Publishing; Leadership and Fundraising for projects including research and publication.
7. The Power of Mentoring; Networking
Who Should Attend?
HERS-EA expects many diverse and dynamic women leaders to attend the ACADEMY, to share and learn from multiple institutional perspectives with guidance from women with a wealth of experience in higher education, national academic organizations, government and non- governmental organizations. Participants are expected hold mid to senior-level positions and bring expertise from all parts of a college or university. They also represent a range of national groups, ages and years of experience in higher education and other fields.
Applying to the ACADEMY:
The deadline for registration has also been extended to June 30th. For more information regarding registration, please visit the website: www.hersea.org Completed registration forms should be emailed, with a scanned payment slip to: email@example.com, by 5.00 p.m. on Wednesday 30th June.
A complete application includes:
b) A self-descriptive letter (not > 500 words) to include:
- Current Title (e.g. Associate Professor of Economics; Deputy Dean, e. t. c.)
- Name and Contact Information for 2 Recommenders (e.g. Vice Chancellor, Head of Department, Chief Officer in your area, and/or direct supervisor)
- Short- and long-term career goals
- Your expectations for the HERS-EA ACADEMY.
c) Passport size photograph
d) A developmental project you have been assigned or you would like to initiate at your campus (maximum 500 words)
e) Registration fee of $100, please attach a copy of the deposit slip to your application (Bank A/C details below):
If you have any further questions, please email:
info[at]hersea.org or call the HERS-EA Administrator on: +256 (0)772082011 Please,also, visit the HERS-EA website for further updates: www.hersea.org.
Payment Bank Account Details:
Account Name: Higher Education Resource Service East Africa
HERS-EA US $ ACCOUNT
Name of Bank: DFCU Bank
Makerere University Branch
A/C No: 02083553153181
Swift Code: DFCUUGKA
HERS-EA UGX ACCOUNT
Name of Bank: DFCU Bank
Makerere University Branch
A/C No: 01083553153172
Mak Commissions CoVAB@50 Celebrations, Awards Certificates
The College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) on Thursday 17th June, 2021 commenced celebrations to mark 50 Years of Veterinary Higher Education, Science, Technology, Innovation and Services (HESTIS) in Uganda. The blended event held at the Industrial Livestock Research, Incubation and Skilling (ILRIS) Center at Nakyesasa, Namulonge as well as online was presided over by the Chancellor, Prof. Ezra Suruma and First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports (MoES), Hon. Janet Museveni both represented by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe.
The event, held as part of Makerere University Centenary Celebrations (1922-2022) was a moment of celebration for 1,930 skilled livestock agribusiness entrepreneurs who were awarded certificates in recognition of completion of their respective courses. Owing to the strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) instituted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to curb the spread of COVID-19, the students from Incubation Hubs in Atiak, Butaleja, Mubende, Nakyesasa, Sheema and Wakiso were awarded their certificates virtually.
In her remarks read by Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Hon. Janet Museveni thanked Makerere University for supporting grassroots level development through groundbreaking innovations under the Africa Institute for Strategic Services and Development-Skills for Production Enterprise Development and Accreditation (AFRISA-SPEDA) model.
“I am extremely pleased that Makerere University, through those innovative approaches, has developed and launched the alternative approach to building human capital and transferring knowledge to enterprises in communities.
“I would like to encourage all those involved in skills development to adopt methodologies that transform those trainees that go through these programs in ways that enable them also transform the societies they live in” read the Minister’s remarks.
She further noted that commissioning of the CoVAB@50 celebrations was both timely and rewarding. “The commissioning of the college innovations indeed has made meaning. This is a true path to growth of an Academic and Development College of the University, and we congratulate you again.”
Addressing the congregation as Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe congratulated CoVAB alumna and incoming Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MoSTI) under the Office of the President, Dr. Monica Musenero upon her recent appointment. “We thank His Excellency the President for identifying you. Science is in good hands.”
Prof. Nawangwe urged Dr. Musenero to address the structures of managing research and innovation in Uganda, “including the role of the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology and the apparent need to establish a Research Council for Uganda.”
In the same breath he thanked the outgoing and pioneer Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Elioda Tumuwesigye, for his role in ensuring that the ministry is empowered to carry out its mandate.
The Chancellor congratulated CoVAB upon training the bulk of Veterinary Doctors in Uganda over the last 50 years and more recently, Laboratory Technologists at the highest level. He recognised Makerere University‘s obligation to contribute to the economic self-determination of Uganda and thanked CoVAB for conducting research that addresses hindrances to national development, especially in the livestock industry.
“The anti-tick vaccine is one of such innovations which will solve the huge problem of tick-borne diseases that have caused enormous losses to our farmers. There are many other problems on which the college is researching and we thank you for the enthusiasm” he added.
The Chancellor commended CoVAB for being the vanguard of transformation of the grassroots communities through the SPEDA model. “I urge Government to fund this important initiative so that it can more meaningfully contribute to solving the big problem of youth unemployment.”
In her remarks, Dr. Monica Musenero commended the Principal, CoVAB, Prof. John David Kabasa for fulfilling the College’s dream of enabling the masses who drop out of the education value chain as well as those who complete education but have no skills for livelihood, to attain certification in agribusiness entrepreneurship.
“Many people attain academic success and write papers, publish and they become professors but without demonstrable impact on their nation. You have shown by the thousands that you have touched nationwide that indeed you are a professor of national transformation. Congratulations,” remarked Dr. Musenero.
She therefore congratulated the teams at CoVAB and AFRISA upon successfully conceiving and executing a model that is non-traditional, informal, not easily understood and not documented in any textbooks.
As Minister, Dr. Musenero noted that witnessing thousands of individuals from across the country whose skills had been honed through a university programme receiving certificates gave her a lot of hope and material to embark on her tenure with. “I will be looking forward to harnessing these resources as we initiate work on the next leg of Science, Technology and Innovation in the country under the President’s Office.”
The invitation to the Principal, CoVAB to present students for the award of the ordinary diplomas, ordinary certificates and artisan certificates was given by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Dr. Umar Kakumba. He congratulated the awardees upon successfully completing their respective courses and graduating with evidence on an enterprise.
Prof. Kabasa clarified that the approach used to train the day’s awardees was not simply a vocational skilling. “The combination of action research with knowledge transfer, skilling, plus assessment and accreditation processes done by organs like the DIT (Directorate of Industrial Training, MoES) has given us this result, for the University to provide true leadership and transformation of the community.”
Present at the celebrations were the Director, DIT, MoES-Mr. Byakatonda Patrick and the Deputy Commissioner Social Services Development, MoES Madam Elizabeth Bateme who have worked through the Academic-Community-Public-Private-Partnership model to ensure that students graduate as entrepreneurs with micro enterprises.
Prior to presiding over the ceremony, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, on behalf of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports officially commissioned the SPEDA Training, Incubation and Research Centre – Nakyesasa.
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