In 2002, Strathmore received the letter of interim authority that allowed the institution to operate as a university and offer the flagship undergraduate programmes in Commerce and Information Technology. The following year, in May of 2003, Strathmore was honoured to introduce its first Vice Chancellor, Professor John Odhiambo, a mathematician and leader extraordinaire.
A story is told of a young academician who, at the peak of his career, in the early years of the 21st Century, took on a new exciting adventure; he made SU his second home and began working on leading a college into becoming a 4th generation institution. Twenty years later, his family; including his grandchildren, long time colleagues, and those he has mentored over the years gathered in the auditorium to celebrate the achievements of SU during the tenure of Prof. Odhiambo. He has been at the heart of the achievements that Strathmore has amassed in the last two decades.
“My reservations on ever taking an administrative role were lifted by a mentor and Professor who challenged me to come up with ways of changing and improving what I never liked about such roles. My outlook changed from then on,” Prof. Odhiambo, SU’s Founding Vice Chancellor.
To fully appreciate the far we have come, we trace our steps back to the initial days, from 2003, when Prof. Odhiambo was officially introduced to the University as the institution’s first Vice Chancellor.
“Prof. Odhiambo was requested to come and nurture a college into a university. He has truly guided the transformation of Strathmore from a college into a world-class University – from offering just two undergraduate programmes to the over 37 programmes we now offer! The University has grown from strength to strength under his tenure,” said Mrs. Bernadette Musundi, the University Council Chair, as she traced the genesis of Prof’s relationship with the University.
The University Council chair further acknowledged the concerted efforts of all who have worked with Prof. Odhiambo to create the University that is now on the world map. The University has nurtured over 20,500 graduates, created notable research centers in business management, law, social sciences and mathematical sciences.
In his remarks, Prof.Odhiambo seamlessly switched between his well-known assertive and witty tone. He liberally threw nuggets of wisdom and words of appreciation to those in the crowd, frequently noting that when he first came to SU, the majority of those in the room were young Turks and have, with the ticking of the clock, acquired crowns of white wisdom.
To the staff members, he said, “Thank you for giving yourself to the university and for making it what it is today. You were the ones who were working behind the scenes to create this entrepreneurial institution,” and emphatically added, “Strathmore cannot follow but be in the lead.”
He didn’t steer away from addressing the difficult moments and the tensions of growth the University has had to navigate through. He thanked Mrs Musundi for steering the university through the tough period following the infamous drill.
And so the afternoon ended with a toast to a legend, to a remarkable leader, devoted to sustaining and enhancing Strathmore’s academic excellence, championing the values of higher education and research, upholding the culture and values of our Founder, and strengthening Strathmore as a fountain of ideas and a force for good in the world.
In two weeks’ time, the University will install its second Vice Chancellor, Dr. Vincent Ogutu, officially transitioning the leadership of the University from one great man to another.
Starting next week, we will publish a two-part series sketching the portraits of two men seamlessly transferring the tools of power. Are you excited? We are!
This article was written by Wambui Gachari.
What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via email@example.com