The University of Namibia (Unam) has resolved to bestow an honorary doctorate degree in public administration on its new chancellor, Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba.
Unam Council earlier this month elected Mbumba as its third chancellor since its establishment.Unam director for communications and marketing, Edwin Tjiramba, says the university will inaugurate Mbumba as its third chancellor at an official congregation of the university on Thursday next week.
The event will be held at the Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management (Nipam) campus in Olympia and start at 14h30.
Tjiramba said the university council at its special meeting on Tuesday decided to bestow the doctorate degree honoris causa on Mbumba on the occasion of his inauguration as chancellor, on recommendation of the Executive Committee of Unam Senate.
He said the council chose to appoint Mbumba as chancellor given the role he played in education before Namibian independence, and having served as minister of education after independence where he presided over the university as a line minister.
“It was therefore deemed fit that Unam confers the honorary degree which is the highest award the university confers. As an individual, the Unam chancellor-elect has distinguished himself through extraordinary and outstanding contributions to the welfare and development of the university and the Namibian nation at large,”
Tjiramba noted on Tuesday.
He explained that the title is also befitting given the statutory provisions in the University of Namibia Act, which states, “The Chancellor shall have the right to confer or grant degrees, diplomas, certificates and other awards and distinctions of the University and to perform such other functions as may be prescribed.”
Henceforth, he says, the council also resolved that Unam will award a honorary doctorate degree to future elected chancellors who are not doctorate degree holders. The council also approved a recommendation by the Executive Committee of Unam Senate to confer a doctorate of philosophy in education honoris causa on Paule Elizabeth Atiogbe of Karasburg.
Tjiramba said as a devoted Catholic, the 89-year-old Atiogbe has served Namibia tirelessly as teacher and principal in numerous towns and schools across the country.
“The University of Namibia is honouring this daughter of Namibia for her ability to inspire others as well as her legacy of educational achievement, commitment to community development, inspiration to the youth, mentorship and community leadership development,” he stated. She will be awarded the degree at the Unam southern campus graduation ceremony in Keetmanshoop on May 15. Mbumba replaces former president Hifikepunye Pohamba, whose term as chancellor ended in November 2017.
Pohamba and the first chancellor, former president Sam Nujoma, both served two terms during their tenure.
Unam spokesperson Simon Namesho yesterday said the official handover by the outgoing chancellor would take place on a date to be announced in due course.
On a visit to State House early last year, Pohamba, who was accompanied by members of Unam’s management team, informed President Hage Geingob of his intention to step down.
Pohamba became chancellor of Unam in 2011.
Unam previously stated that its appointment of chancellors is in line with other universities in Commonwealth countries, which have all elected to reserve the chancellorship for political leaders, prominent religious leaders and monarchs.
According to the Unam Act of 1992, the chancellor of the university shall be the titular head of the university and shall be elected by the council in the prescribed manner.
The chancellor shall hold office for six years and shall be eligible for re-election at the expiration of his or her term of office.
A honorary degree or the degree honoris causa, as it is commonly known, is an academic degree for which the usual university requirements such as matriculation, residence, a dissertation and the passing of comprehensive examinations are waived.
The degree will be offered to both candidates in accordance with the statutes and regulations governing the awarding of degrees in terms of the University Act.