Back in 1958, the visionary St. Josemaria Escrivá sent a few members of Opus Dei to Kenya. Their mission was to establish a multi-racial educational institution that would transcend the boundaries of the colonial era. This institution eventually took root in 1961 and came to be known as Strathmore College. Concurrently, in 1960, the first women of Opus Dei arrived in Kenya, leading to the establishment of Kianda Secretarial College, which aimed to provide education to women of diverse backgrounds. It wasn’t until 1993 that Strathmore College and Kianda College joined forces to provide education for all, transcending the segregated past.
The first week of October holds a special place in the hearts of Strathmore University’s community, as it marks the celebration of its founders. This year’s theme, “Friendship in the Digital Age,” delves deep into St. Josemaria’s teachings on friendship. “The key to true friendship,” he said, “is putting others first, giving them our time and full attention.”
Top musical talent
The week began with talent auditions to set the stage for the celebrations ahead. It was a prelude to what promised to be a week filled with exciting activities for both students and staff members.
Throughout the Founder’s Week, from the 2nd to 6th October, a plethora of activities unfolded. Different years brought forth different events, including movie nights, music concerts, and sometimes a delightful combination of both. Talk sessions were held for staff, students, and even parents. The theme, “Friendship in the Digital Age,” took center stage during these discussions.
One notable talk session was the High Tea and Talk session for men, which included members from various departments, such as housekeeping, cafeteria, security, and maintenance. Herbert Nabangi from the Chaplaincy department led this session, emphasizing the importance of creating and maintaining genuine friendships in the digital era. He reminded us that in this age, being intentional about spending physical time with friends is crucial. He advocated for face-to-face conversations over text messages, which can foster sincerity in friendships. Celebrating friendships using digital tools is encouraged, but true presence in the moment is invaluable.
Creating and maintaining friendships
The second day was dedicated to the housekeeping, cafeteria, and security staff, with Christine Ochieng, member of the University Council, and Mrs. Laura Mideva from @iLabAfrica, leading discussions on creating and maintaining friendships. They highlighted the significance of time and effort in building meaningful relationships.
Dr. Vincent Ogutu took the stage on the third day, shedding light on “The Complex Web of Relationships” in the digital era. He illustrated how our founder, St. Josemaria, valued connection long before cellphones were ubiquitous. St. Josemaria’s commitment to communication, even through handwritten letters, demonstrated his profound understanding of friendship.
A panel discussion ensued, with a couple married for over 25 years now, James Nyiha and Catherine Nyiha sharing insights on friendship. They emphasized that true friendship transcends the individual and involves thinking about others. Mr. Nyiha from this session left us with a quote, ‘ A true friend knows the song in your heart and they can sing it back to you when you forget the words’
The fourth day brought parents into the fold, with over 500 School of Computing and Engineering Sciences parents attending. Dr. Elizabeth Gachenga spoke about the University’s mission and how it provides quality education while addressing ethical and social development.
The panel discussion on “Parenting a University Student and Enhancing Friendship in the Digital Age” highlighted the need for parents to engage with their children in the digital realm. Ian Wairua encouraged parents to take control of their relationships with their children in the age of technology.
Prayer for all
This session was followed by a Eucharistic Procession, which granted us an opportunity to pray for many intentions, including all in the University, our families, friends, our country and the world. This is a public witness of the veneration of the Holy Eucharist, conducted through public streets, and takes place in this way: A consecrated host is placed in a monstrance, which is then lifted and carried by a priest who leads the faithful in procession. Along the way, the faithful participate by praying and singing. The Eucharistic procession began at the Main Chapel, Sangale Campus and proceeded to the Shrine of the Holy Family, which is located at the corner of the Graduation Square on Keri Campus. After this, we shall conclude the procession in the Main Chapel.
Dancing the afternoon away
Finally, the much-anticipated music concert featuring Kenyan artists Nikita Kering, Wahu, and Nameless took place on Friday. The SU community was filled with excitement as various awards and prizes were presented to the winners. These were awards won from the social media photo or video competition, a trivia that revolved around the theme of the year, ‘ Friendship in the digital age’, a treasure hunt that revolved around the history of St. Josemaria, a Kahoot and music auditions. The awards and prizes included; a Fly Emirates Dubai return ticket, Tecno Spark 10 phones, and many more gifts from SBM Bank, Tecno Kenya, and Fly Emirates, who were our sponsors, were taken home by different winners. It was a grand finale to a week that celebrated the enduring values of friendship and unity that have guided Strathmore University from its inception.
In the digital age, where screens often separate us, Strathmore’s Founder’s Week reminds us of the timeless importance of true friendship and human connection. As we celebrate the past, we also embrace the future, knowing that these values will continue to guide us in our pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship. Thank you for joining us in this celebration of friendship, unity, and the enduring spirit of Strathmore.
This article was written Teresa Nekesa.
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