By Henry Sekanjako
It was praises and honor as renowned academicians, professionals and politicians celebrated the life of the late Bernard Onyango during the inaugural Bernard Onyango memorial public lecture and Academic excellence awards.
Speaking at the memorial lecture organized by Makerere University in conjunction with St Peter’s College Tororo old boy’s association and Uganda Martyrs University, different academicians remembered Onyango as a disciplined man of integrity and an exemplary public administrator.
In his key note address, the chief speaker former prime minister Prof. Apolo Nsibambi described the late Onyango as a man of exceptional integrity who built that integrity by steady and dedicated services to the various universities in which he was in control of the public records.
Former VCs and politicians were among the guests. PHOTO/Richard Sanya
“During his tenure I never once heard anybody complain about messed up transcripts or dissertations not being vetted,” said Nsibambi.
Nsibambi said Onyango was a very confident, honest and an intelligent person which qualities he says enabled him answer very difficult questions to the satisfaction of members of senate.
Nsibambi, who was a close friend of the late, also remembered Onyango as an administrator who promoted academic excellence by performing his administrative work effectively as the academic registrar.
“He reduced the gap between administrators and academicians because he solved their academic concerns effectively,” he noted.
The political science professor urged public administrators and leaders to emulate Onyango’s integrity, which he said was a rare and scarce ‘commodity’ among leaders.
Professor John Ddumba Ssentamu, the Vice Chancellor Makerere University remembered the late Onyango as an administrator who promoted the girl child education.
Former MAK VC Prof Kirya chats with Lucy Onyango as former PM looks on after Public lecture .PHOTO/Richard Sanyu
“Onyango persuaded senate to accept the proposal for the 1.5 additional points to female students applying for government scholarship.
This scheme is still applicable to-date and has benefited many female students,” said Ddumba.
Dr. Mohammed Kiggundu, the chairperson Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA), asked Makerere University to consider naming a road after the late Onyango in remembrance of his great service to the university.
St Peter’s college old boys association (SPECTOBA), the organizers of the late Bernard Onyango academic excellence awards and memorial lecture, described Onyango as a great educationist who promoted academic excellence in Tororo district and the country at large.
“He was the first person to get eight in eight and it was very difficult to get distinctions during that time, so he challenged any one to match his performance,” said Wilbrod Owor chairperson SPECTOBA.
In memory of the late Onyango, SPECTOBA launched the late Bernard Onyango academic excellence awards at Silver Springs Hotel in Bugolobi over the weekend to promote academic excellence.
Isaac Munu who matched Bernard Onyango at St Peter's College by getting 8 out of 8 at O’ Level last year, was the first winner of the Excellence Award and got a cash prize and full A’ Level scholarship.
Simon Wandera, who got triple A at A’ Level, also got a cash prize.
Meanwhile, Prof Apolo Nsibambi contributed sh1m towards the late Bernard Onyango academic excellence awards cause which will be an annual event.
Onyango who died in October last year at the age of 83, began his career as a teacher serving at King’s College Budo (1955), St. Peter’s College, Tororo (1956-58), and as Deputy Headmaster until 1963.
From 1963 to 1965, Onyango was Deputy Registrar of Makerere University College, before moving to the University of East Africa (comprising the three colleges of Dar es Salaam, Nairobi and Makerere) where he served as Academic Registrar from 1965 to 1969. He rejoined the institution as Academic Registrar—a position he held for 21years.
Academicians celebrate late Bernard Onyango