Financial aid luncheon


Beneath the grandeur of an open-air glade, elegantly adorned in a  blend of exquisite gold and white accents, the energy pulsated at Strathmore University’s  annual Financial Aid Office Scholars Luncheon and Awards ceremony. Here, students, faculty, donors, and special guests congregated in unison, celebrating not only the academic achievements but also the commendable community service of the Class of 2023’s financial aid recipients.

For the first time, freshmen had the opportunity to rub shoulders with the victorious upper-years. Those who have walked this journey, encountered the same hardships and triumphed. These visitors’ eyes were marked by an irresistible blend of excitement, terror, and radiant expectation. 

Speaking of dancing, our Master of Ceremony was no slouch. Scarf unfurled, he invoked the spirit of the gathering with infectious dances. In the eloquent words of the Program Manager, Kevin Muchemi, the graduating stars were the very embodiment of a process that had come “full circle”—exemplars for those just starting out.

The real star of the dancefloor, though? It is a hilariously infectious rendition of the Luhya shoulder-shaking dance. Perfection was never the goal here, only the spirited confidence to embrace the rhythm. Oh, the laughter and mirth it sparked is imprinted eternally on my memory!

They certainly raised the bar! A handful of #ClassOf2023 learners – newly anointed First Class Honors graduates – basked in the atmosphere of a dream accomplished as thunderous applause filled the air.

The stars of the show, however, were the up-and-coming freshmen scholars. Eyes wide, hearts aflutter, they were led through a gateway of congratulations and good luck wishes into a brave new world. They weren’t alone. Looming like giants around them were the seniors – the beneficiaries of #ElimishaStratizen, who didn’t simply walk the path to success but danced their way onto it. Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote about crossing the bar; well, these folks just raised it. 

Sprinkled with humour and seasoned with wisdom, the speeches appealed to creativity, responsibility, and (my personal favourite) the collective power of shared dreams. And as James Gatere, the Head of I&M Foundation, reminded the graduates, “Don’t be a lone ranger out there.” Life lesson -teamwork does indeed make the dream work!

But it wasn’t all academic chatter and number crunching. Oh no! While Strathmore believes in a holistic approach to nurturing minds

There is definitely more to give, and not just to the library return box. Awards were dished out to scholars who served society as fine as a Swiss watch.

The Master of Ceremony, evidently a believer in the ‘work hard, party harder’ doctrine, did not just delight us with mere words. He decided it was high time we all learned some new dance moves. As the notes climbed and twirled through the air, so did we. The electric atmosphere was  practically pulsating, and somewhere out there, a lonely Tesla regretted missing out on all that energy.

Kevin Muchemi, the devoted Program Manager, heatedly told the freshmen that they were not just standing on the shoulders of giants but that they now were the giants on whose shoulders future scholars would stand. It’s hugely inspiring yet terrifying, kind of like becoming a parent, wouldn’t you say? 

Dr Elizabeth Gachenga, whose extensive title of DVC ASA spelled out “dream, vision, commitment, always striving ahead” (well, at least in my writer’s mind), gave a rallying cry for the freshmen while reminding them that “The job is not yet done. Go forth and #KeepWinning!” 

Then something unexpected was pronounced – success isn’t solely academic -something that brought out visible relief to all humanitarians, artists, and sports enthusiasts in the crowd. Good news, folks, just being you is more than enough!

In the end, what was to take from this evening of revelry? It wasn’t the awards or the scholarships or the praise that resounded. Nor was it the noteworthy wisdom dispensed by the eminent guests. No, it was the reality that Success at Strathmore doesn’t end at the university borders; it trickles back to prop up a struggling fresher, cheers on a confused sophomore, and ends up restoring faith in a jaded senior. 

With the invitation for successful alumni to return as mentors and the rallying call to freshmen to carry high their scholarly heads, the event encapsulates the very purpose of education – to instil confidence, empower, and equalize. 

And what’s a celebration without some sweet ending? The cutting of the cake marked the culmination of the event while opening up the prospects of a delightful new journey.

As the event drew to a close, the financial aid staff, with a rebellious twinkle in their eyes, led the charge onto the dance floor. The result?  A jubilant testament to the magic that was  created when the kick of intelligence met the rhythm of the heart! And boy, oh boy, did they like to dance! 


Be creative, be responsible, be a giver. The success you attain is simply borrowed; return it with interest. For we were all artists, painting on the canvas of life using strokes of ingenuity.


Article Written By Keith Albert.

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