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Strathmore University 2020 Graduation – Thriving Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

The auspiciousness of this event was characterized by pomp and colour, courtesy of the bright faces and beaming smiles of graduates, confetti cannons and poppers.


The Year 2020 will no doubt go down in history as being a difficult one for the global folk, with many experiencing psychological, financial, and social challenges. We have had our courage and endurance tested time and again.

That said, it is a year that the University has exemplified its motto: “Ut omnes unum sint”– “That all may be one”; the University displayed commendable collegiality through the concerted efforts of students, staff, and administration.

The world over has been forced into virtual graduations given the current COVID-19 pandemic. The University continued to pave the ground, being a model industry leader by being the first institution of higher learning to hold an on-campus graduation, while adhering to the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 protocols.

Strathmore University copied its own cadence and more than mirrored its style in the just concluded 16th Graduation Ceremony; an unparalleled four-day graduation that took place from Tuesday 1st December to Friday 4th December, 2020. The auspiciousness of this event was characterized by pomp and colour, courtesy of the bright faces and beaming smiles of graduates, confetti cannons and poppers, a rap piece titled “Elevate” by Geoffrey Thige – a Bachelor of Commerce graduate, rollicking songs by Effie Okola, a Strathmore Law School 3rd year student, and a dance by the Doctorate graduates on day four.

The frenzy by graduands was a reminiscence of all their hard work culminating in this momentous on-campus ceremony, with family and friends following the live proceedings online.

The #Classof2020 experienced a rise in the number of graduates from 2019’s 1,001 to 1,133. That is; 920 Undergraduates, 201 Masters, and 12 Doctorate degrees – the highest in the history of Strathmore University, spelling a lot of hope in research and solutions to problems affecting our society.

Succinct speeches

Mrs. Bernadette Musundi, the chair of the Strathmore University Council, explained the scaling down of the ceremony and breaking it down to a four-day event due to the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19, in adherence to health guidelines and protocols.

Lauding the efforts of the #Classof2020, Mrs. Musundi reminded them that they are a special graduating class for such a time as this, called to step into the future with more purpose, vision, and, above all, hope. Calling on them to change the world and to make their impression felt wherever they may be, she concluded by saying, “Take charge, be in control, the world is yours to transform!”

Speaking at the ceremony, the University Vice-Chancellor Prof. John Odhiambo commended and congratulated students and staff for being pace-setters in embracing technology-enabled teaching and learning. He applauded their resilience reiterating the aim of the University to produce knowledgeable, adaptable, skilled, open minded, entrepreneurial, collaborative and exemplary citizens.

Rev. Dr. Silvano Ochuodho, Strathmore University’s Pro Chancellor, reminded the graduates to never compromise the truth and to stand by it at all times. In his parting shot, Rev. Dr. Ochuodho said that “Credibility is like money: if you have it, you’re solvent; if you don’t, you’re bankrupt.”

This unco ceremony also marked the conferment of degrees for the pioneer classes of Bachelor of Arts in International Studies – which produced the #Classof2020 Chancellor’s awardee – Catherine Mumo, on recommendation from lecturers, tutors, and classmates, Bachelor of Arts in Communication, and Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies and Philosophy  – which produced the #Classof2020 Valedictorian, Kristy Obuya.

Kristy challenged her fellow graduates to ensure that the knowledge they acquired will be used to transform the world, saying, “The degree we now hold and rightfully earned, is not only something to be framed and hung in your home, but is your key to unlocking your next chapter. What door will it unlock? That depends on you.”

Remembering Erica

In a very special way, the University acknowledged, posthumously, Erica Warurii Gakunju – a Strathmore Law School student in the #Classof2020. There was a minute of silence observed during the ceremony and a special prayer for the repose of her soul and the comfort of her family.

Achievement awards

The #Classof2020 achievement awards recognised meritorious and outstanding achievements in leadership, service to society, academics, exemplary sportsmanship and consistent self-giving in the University.

The Academic Excellence Award is given to the best overall student in each Faculty/School:

Strathmore University Business School – Dadhiala, Jasreet Kaur, School of Computing and Engineering Sciences – Magomere, Jabez Nzomo, Strathmore Institute of Mathematical Sciences – Omondi, Diana Adhiambo, Strathmore Law School – Chula, Liza Nagule, School of Tourism and Hospitality – Kareria, Phyllis Wairimu, School of Humanities and Social Sciences – Gakumo, Vanessa Njeri

The Sports Awardees were Muragu, Jane Wanjiru and Ndwiga, Maxwell Munene in recognition of their outstanding discipline, leadership and exemplary sportsmanship in the field.

Muyia, Stephanie Tracey was awarded the Esther Kidambi award in recognition of her selflessness, service with a smile, and consistency in self-giving. The Community Service Award was given to Kamau, Kelvin Gacheru for his interest, concern, and initiative in assisting the disadvantaged in the community.

The mood of elation pervading the entire graduation ceremony can only be equated to none. In the truest sense of the words, we have thrived through the COVID-19 pandemic and we can only rise higher. To the Class of 2020, go forth and conquer! And in Kristy Obuya’s mantra: Quarantined but not quashed!


This article was written by Francis Kabutu.


Would you like to share your experience of living through the circumstances brought by the Covid-19 pandemic? Kindly email: communications@strathmore.edu