By Ikenna Nwokedi
The Department of Applied Microbiology and Brewing, Faculty of Biosciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University on Wednesday, 8th November 2023 held her maiden Alumni Converge and Reunion Celebration alongside award presentation in a colourful event.
The celebration which brought together products of the department from years past was held at the ASUU NAU Secretariat Complex UNIZIK with the theme: “The Homecoming of Champions.”
In his address, UNIZIK Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Charles Esimone, eulogized the Head of the Department and all staff for the bold step taken in assembling the alumni which is the way to go highlighting the importance of referencing home at some point in one’s career.
Prof. Esimone noted that Microbiology as a Department has gotten to the extent of becoming a Faculty judging by the number of ambassadors she has produced which necessitated the home coming event.
The vice chancellor informed that the government of the day is gradually withdrawing from funding of the University which is the reason why every department has to find alternative funding, pointing out that the alumni is one of the sources of funding and the step towards alumni converge is acceptable.
The scholar noted that when Departments and Faculties are self reliant, the VC has less work to do while encouraging that focus be maintained to reach the stipulated funding target.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the occasion and former member of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Kingsley Chukwuma Iruba highlighted the importance of the alumni converge stating that the world is a small place and human beings need each other to survive.
Hon. Iruba averred that it is a wake up call for the alumni to think of how to give back to the institution that made them as well as to consider how to better the system for those coming after them.
He noted that the Department is in need of certain equipment and the role of the alumni is cut out in enhancing her visibility and global rating as the government cannot do it all.
On her part, the Head, Department of Microbiology and Brewing, Prof. Sophina Ogonna Umeh noted that the Department as a mother had nurtured thousands of children since her inception and there comes a time in the life of a mother when the attention of her children is greatly needed.
The HOD informed that the current state of the nation has pushed education and its subordinates towards the verge of break-up.
Prof. Umeh revealed that allocations to fund higher institutions had been a tug-of-war which has led to teaching and lecturing career depreciated with great speed.
She stated that the call answered by the alumni will lead to a significant difference in the growth and future successes to be recorded in the academic journey of the future generation.
The HOD solicited for support in the form of equipping and building a befitting Laboratory as the Department prepares for her accreditation exercise in the coming year.
In the keynote speech delivered by Prof. Obinna Nwinyi of the Covenant University Ota on the topic: “Building a World-Class University (Microbiology Department): The place and relevance of the Alumni,” described the University as a place of knowledge and a factory of solution for societal problems.
He informed that characteristics of world-class universities are based on academic excellence, research, innovation, alumni success, reputations and ranking among others.
Prof. Nwinyi posited that alumni play a significant role in the success and continued growth of world-class universities in the areas of financial support, networking and career opportunities, advocacy and public relations, expertise and collaborations, legacy and tradition as well as philanthropy and giving back.
He affirmed that universities that cultivate strong alumni relationships benefit from a dedicated and engaged community that can help drive the institution’s success and legacy.
Highpoints of the occasion was award presentation to friends and benefactors of the department, lecturers and alumni as well as inauguration of the Microbiology Alumni and class presentations. The alumni converse also featured fund-raising for an ultramodern Microbiology Laboratory.