The 2nd Annual University of Nairobi Foundation Dinner unfolded as Vice Chancellor Prof. Stephen Gitahi Kiama took the stage, setting the tone for an evening filled with gratitude, generosity, and a shared commitment to transforming lives through philanthropy. Gathered under the theme “Building A Legacy: Investing in Knowledge, Empowering Generations,’ the dinner drew esteemed guests, alumni, and supporters to take stock of the foundation’s past achievements and also to lay the foundation for the future marked by knowledge empowerment and philanthropy.
In his opening address, Prof. Kiama, also the University Foundation Secretary, extended a heartfelt appreciation to the Chancellor, chair of the foundation, trustees, partners, sponsors, alumni, staff, and students whose collective efforts and unwavering commitment had enabled the remarkable achievement of raising a staggering Ksh.40 million in 2022.
Detailing the prudent investment of the funds into an endowment fund, Prof. Kiama announced a significant milestone—the commencement of awarding scholarships to talented and needy students. The strategic move will ensure the preservation and growth of funds, emphasizing the commitment to creating equal opportunities for all, irrespective of financial background. Prof. Kiama reiterated the institution’s commitment to advancing research, innovation, and development through philanthropic support. “As we embrace the University of Nairobi’s value of care, let us be guided by the knowledge that our collective contributions have the power to change lives, inspire greatness, and create a lasting impact,” said Prof. Kiama.
The Chair of the Council, Prof. Amukowa Anangwe, on his part stressed the importance of engaging with graduates and alumni to foster a culture of philanthropy. Prof. Anangwe also expressed the university’s council readiness to support such endeavours by way of creating a conducive policy environment and providing budgetary support for a strengthened university-based mechanism for alumni engagement.
In her heartfelt speech, the Chancellor Dr. Vijoo Rattansi conveyed gratitude for attendees’ commitment to the institution’s noble cause of resource mobilization. Acknowledging the economic challenges globally and within Kenya she emphasized the trustees’ dedication to prudent and sustainable management of the foundation’s resources. The Chancellor expressed thanks for the generous contributions and recognized the sacrifices made by contributors, noting that the success of the foundation is predicated not on the quantum but on the richness of each contribution. “Our timeless mission is to underwrite a rock-solid financial base upon which a self-sustaining University of Nairobi will be anchored,” she said.
Despite economic uncertainties and a new government in office, the Chancellor highlighted the importance of maintaining the annual dinner momentum, viewing it as an investment in the university’s future leaders and innovators. She announced plans for a major fundraising gala in Q2 2024 and called for understanding and continued support from the attendees. The Chancellor also expressed gratitude for the support during her tenure as both Chancellor and Chair of the University of Nairobi Foundation. “This function marks my last public act where I don dual caps; that of Chancellor of the University of Nairobi and the Chair of the University of Nairobi Foundation. As I shed the Chancellor cap and continue with the foundation, I assure you of my continued investment of more time and resources towards making the foundation mission a successful one” she declared.
In a captivating keynote address, Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi highlighted the significance of the event as a catalyst for innovation, a lifeline for students in need, and a testament to the institution’s commitment to advancing education. He urged the UoN Foundation Board of Trustees and the University management to learn from successful models employed by other universities, emphasizing the need to create organizational infrastructure to effectively harness the social capital of graduates.
Prof. Kaimenyi rallied attendees to unite in purpose, emphasizing the transformative power of education and the role each individual plays in shaping a future where the University of Nairobi stands as a beacon of hope, enlightenment, and progress. ‘I did some research and we have over 256,000 former students of the University of Nairobi, if each one gave 5K each year the foundation will have 1.28 billion” stated Prof. Kaimenyi.
Dr. Bimal Kantaria, the Managing Director, of Elgon Kenya Ltd also the Chief Guest mentioned their families’ long-standing history of philanthropy and underscored the profound values that have been passed down through generations, highlighting the importance of giving back to the community.
Various institutions came out to give towards a worthy cause that is the University of Nairobi Foundation.