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Former KU VC Mugenda advises universities, students on branding themselves.

Former Kenyatta University Vice Chancellor Olive Mugenda addressing MKU graduands during their 12th graduation fete on Friday. 
Former Kenyatta University Vice Chancellor Olive Mwihaki Mugenda has challenged universities to define their own institutional ‘DNA’ that scholars will identify with the unique things that you offer.

Speaking during the 12th Graduation Ceremony of Mount Kenya University (MKU) where she was the chief guest, Ms. Mugenda said that one of the best ways institutions of higher learning could articulate their overall worth in today’s highly competitive world was to create an institutional brand that stood out in the crowd.

“Universities are important catalysts of social-economic transformation. In this regard, they should work to define their own DNA that they would always be identified with as they pursue their dreams of transforming the society,” said Mugenda.

The event saw 6,603 students graduating in a variety of fields, among them 3,399 males and 3,204 females. The School of Education had the highest graduands (2,688) with lowest being the School of engineering, Energy and Build Environment graduating 38 students.

The former KU VC said that universities should also play a great role in assisting their students build strong ethical principles, value-based leadership qualities and a positive attitude in life’s challenges.

“Lecturers should mentor their students and encourage them to adopt the right attitudes to life’s challenges and embrace values and ethics. We need to help our students pursue their dreams just like (MKU Chairman Simon) Gicharu did in his pursuit to build such an effective institution,” she said.

Quoting Robert Thomas’ ‘Spheres of Life’, Mugenda advised the graduands to use the challenges they face to re-engineer themselves.  

The academic researcher and administrator praised the government’s move to have to enroll students as interns saying it will help them get that very essential experience they needed in the job market.

“The idea to offer university graduates a one year internship programme is great as this has been the greatest challenge among school leavers. As an educationist, I suggest that it should be extended to start as the students are still in college.”

Concerning her personal life after retirement, Mugenda said that she was involving herself on consultancy programmes to schools and institutions.

“By the way, I am releasing a book talking about her experiences as an academia and how best we can help our institutions of learning grow and optimise their potential.”

Mugenda takes pride in her achievements as the VC of Kenyatta University and especially having to engineer the establishment of the 500-bed Kenyatta University Referral Hospital.

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