Strathmore University has a unique history stretching from pre-independent Kenya when different communities were segregated. Inspired by St. Josemaria’s message of working together towards the same aim, despite differences in opinion, tastes and backgrounds, Strathmore began as the first multi-racial A-Level college in the country in 1961.
Every year since 2016, we celebrate our history and heritage through the annual campus-wide event, during which we immerse ourselves into the teachings of St. Josemaría. To mark the occasion, the University usually holds a series of events involving students, staff, faculty, trustees, alumni, and friends. The circumstances of 2021, with the Covid-19 pandemic still in our midst, gives impetus for the choice of this year’s theme. Using a blended approach, we will have the opportunity to immerse ourselves in St. Josemaria’s teaching on hope as we celebrate Strathmore Founder’s Week.
Theme of 2021 – Keeping Hope Alive
Amidst the great trials, tribulations and adversities brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and life in general, it may at one moment or other have crossed our minds that there is no hope or good from the current times and circumstances. Indeed, life as we knew it prior to March 2020 seems to be a far-away dream.
For many individuals, families and organisations, the last 18 or so months have created a sense of hopelessness. We’ve encountered an influx of difficult moments: the devastation of sickness and hospitalization of family members, death and grief, lost jobs and shattered businesses. An overall sense of chaos, disorder and pain seems to reign.
One would then dare to ask, ‘Where is our hope’? Do we really have any reason to be optimistic that things will be better tomorrow?
Our Founder St. Josemaria, while he met many adversities himself, remained ever hopeful and often preached the message of hope throughout his lifetime. For him, his anchor and his source of hope was God; ‘I have placed my hope in you, O Lord: may your hand guide me now and at every moment, for ever and ever. (Friends of God, 209).
In yet another text he states: “As Christ is walking along, he meets two men who have nearly lost all hope. They are beginning to feel that life has no meaning for them. Christ understands their sorrow; he sees into their heart and communicates to them some of the life he carries within himself.” Christ is Passing By, no. 105
St. Josemaría was a firm believer that with God as our Hope, we would not be disappointed. The world is transient and temporary in many ways, and as we’ve come to experience, neither the good nor bad times last. The fragility of life witnessed in the pandemic times, coupled with other trying moments, will definitely weigh us down, but we cannot allow that to shatter all hope and optimism. Precisely at such a time, supernatural outlook towards life will propel us to look for ways to fulfil our mandate for being alive here and now.
‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” 1 Peter 3: 15. This Biblical verse captures succinctly how one can keep hope alive.
A hopeful student will become more determined to excel in their studies and the extra-curricular activities they take part in. Similarly, a hopeful staff member will put all their efforts into doing their work excellently, anchoring all hope in God. A hopeful Stratizen will be a source of strength to their classmate or colleague during trying moments.
Through the various activities and sessions that we will have during Founder’s week, we will strive to reignite each other’s optimism and find ways to keep the candle of hope alive. Through our SU motto, Ut Omnes Unum Sint – that all may be one – we are urged to live through these moments as a hopeful community and become bearers of hope.