Ben Ezechime, Enugu
Professor Charles Igwe, Vice Chancellor of University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) has said that the university has graduated over 200,000 students and now has about 60 generations of alumni since its inception.
Igwe made this known in Enugu while briefing newsmen on the activities to mark 63rd Founders’ Day celebration of the university held at the Main Hall of the Enugu campus of the University.
He said the university’s founders’ day celebration was an annual event held in commemoration of the founding of Nigeria’s first indigenous university.
“Thus, we should be celebrating not only the birth of UNN, but also the historical milestone of the birth of University Education in Nigeria at large.
“It is on record that the UNN has now produced close to 60 generations of alumni and from our matriculation number the exact number of graduates produced so far by the university is over 200,000.
“It is for this reason, that our Founders’ Day celebration is marked as an elaborate and weeklong activity during which staff, students and alumni come together to honour our founders and forebears,” Prof. Igwe said.
“First and foremost, the University of Nigeria has continued to reinvent itself, retaining and improving her place in the league of universities in Nigeria, Africa and the world in general,” he said.
The vice Chancellor said that UNN had remained competitive in spite of some very peculiar challenges it faced.
“In terms of academic output, our staff have been quite productive not only in the form of conference attendance, research publications, but also in inventions and patents.
“This year alone, the university has hosted many national and international conferences.
“The University is also currently publishing a growing number of academic journals and some of these have been listed or indexed by international agencies.
“A good example is the Nigerian Journal of Technology which is published by our Faculty of Engineering and which was recently indexed by SCOPUS – the globally recognised abstract and citation database owned by Elsevier.
“Still on academic output, a good number of our staff have also emerged the proud recipients and winners of many local and international research grants. A case in point is a World Bank grant for research in sustainable power and energy development valued at USD 6 million,” Igwe said.
According to him, the university had entered into a number of new international collaborations with reputable universities across the world.
“In the last one year. we have signed a good number of MOUs with several universities, including those in very distant countries like Australia, Japan and Russia.
“This is an additional proof that the University of Nigeria is an outward-looking Institution.
“The enthusiasm with which these institutions offer or accept to collaborate with UNN has continued to reassure me that our reputation is still sky high in spite of the unique challenges we face, ” he said.
Igwe said that the university has also continued to address the unique challenges of infrastructure deficit which it faced across its campuses.
“As a first generation, multi-campus and rapidly growing institution, some of these challenges are simply peculiar to UNN,” he said.
According to him, these include aging and inadequate infrastructure and the huge cost of providing municipal services across the campuses.
“Nonetheless, we have continued in our drive to change the narrative; for example, the new University Medical Centre has now been completed, commissioned and occupied,” he said.
The VC further said that the university of Nigeria has also continued to benefit from the Capital Allocation, NEEDS assessment and TETFund intervention projects.
He added that the high cost of energy and the rising price of diesel now pose additional challenge to public universities across the country including the UNN.
“For example, in July this year, a 20 KVA solar solution was installed in the administration building, thanks to Dr Obioha Fubara Okoroafor, an alumnus of the University, who sponsored the solar energy project.
“There are also plans to achieve such energy transitions in some other strategic buildings, such as the ICT building, in the near future,” he said.