Addressing the graduands, Vice Chancellor Professor Muhammadou Kah enunciated: “We are poised to transform UTG into a model world-class 21st century university, which is recognised worldwide for its academic excellence, vibrant academic culture and diverse university community; and for the quality and impact of her scientific research, teaching and service. UTG aims to be ranked among the world’s truly great universities setting standards for the creation and dissemination of knowledge in service to her community and the world. UTG aims to become a university where staff will find the highest levels of fulfillment and satisfaction in an atmosphere of intellectual excitement and academic freedom, guided by international standards of intellectual excellence; a university that will advance knowledge through the innovative use of technology and collaborate to educate and support a student body that is recognized for its scholarship and integrity equipped with the knowledge and skills for self-actualisation and national development.
“We want our graduates to be among the most sought after by the world’s best employers and who become leaders in their communities and accomplished professionals in their chosen line of work. UTG wants to be known for her public engagement, and productive partnerships with leading institutions throughout the world and where the quality of our physical facilities and campus will be consistent with world-class status; a university that will help The Gambia transition to a knowledge economy and help solve our most challenging social, cultural, technical, and health-related problems”.
While Praising President Jammeh for his boldness and vision for setting up the university fourteen years ago, Professor Kah lamented bad press and personal allegations which threatened the integrity and sanctity of the institution. His words: “The past two academic years of 2011-2012, were difficult years with the UTG receiving negative press, which threatened the integrity and sanctity of the academe. Institutional change and transformation to put UTG on the path towards becoming a world class university is difficult and differences of opinion should not be personalised and we should all learn to respect one another and understand the other’s posture even if we do not agree with his/her position. I believe that cordiality and mutual respect beget cordiality and mutual respect; together their sum builds collegiality. Collegiality is important in fostering institutional status, maintaining academic freedom, prompting individual pride, and as a method for information exchange. My administration’s focus is how to maintain collegiality and how to prevent its disruption, i.e., how to strengthen and maintain internal relationships and foster the attitude that ”we are in this together.”
“In effect, each member of the UTG fraternity must work actively to maintain collegiality or it will disappear and be replaced by confrontation. UTG is greater than her Vice Chancellor, faculty, staff or students. UTG is an institution, which will outlive all of us, and it has a central role to play in the socio-economic and cultural development of our nation and humanity. Therefore, the need to cultivate collegiality and build an academic culture anchored on teaching, research and service to our communities cannot be overemphasized. UTG should be in the news for breakthroughs, innovations and cutting-edge research, not personalized attacks and allegations”.
In total, 726 students graduated with various bachelors degrees, 20 received masters degrees , 13 MBAs in collaboration with Amity University in India through the e-learning programme and seven 7 with MSc in Responsible Tourism in collaboration with Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK. Also graduating was 3,100 students who received diplomas and certificates from the Gambia College.
Speaking later President Jammeh admonished the graduands to live up to expectations and he exhorted them to live honest and decent lives.