New president plans to move Liberia university

Newly inducted United Methodist University president Johnson Gwaikolo has announced plans to relocate the congested university from central Monrovia to a site 15 miles away.

One year after being named interim president of the university, Gwaikolo now heads the institution officially. During his induction ceremony Aug. 30, Gwaikolo said he would seek to move the university to an area off of Robert Field highway (airport road).

“The students need a conducive environment to enhance their learning at our school,” Gwaikolo said. “I am afraid the students might go to other institutions if the issue of space is not resolved in the soonest possible time.”

Asked how he and the university leadership are going to fund the relocation process, Gwaikolo said he is going to work with health institutions that have expressed interest in doing business with the school.

“We will move the institution college by college, and the college of health sciences will be the first on our list,” he said.

He pointed out that during the Ebola crisis, students of the college of health sciences were instrumental in serving various health institutions, highlighting the quality teaching services the university provides.

“Our school, especially the college of health sciences, was used as a training base for most Ebola health workers, including the one sponsored by the Discipleship Ministries,” Gwaikolo said.

Though he did not name specific health institutions that expressed a willingness to partner with the school, he said moving the college of health sciences first will be the quickest way to attract sponsorship.

“There are people and institutions that are standing by to help us move this college because of the contribution that we are making in the healthcare delivery program of Liberia,” he said.

The university also will launch a capital campaign to help raise funds. The effort will include reaching out to United Methodist-related institutions in the United States to create an e-library for students, he said.

Gwaikolo is the third president of the university since its establishment in 2000. He replaces the Rev. Emmanuel Bailey, who served as president for more than 10 years before being removed in 2015.

Previously, Gwaikolo served the United Methodist University as the vice president for business and finance. He also worked with the Liberian government in various positions. He is a doctoral candidate in Interdisciplinary Leadership at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

Swen is a communicator in Liberia. News media contact: Vicki Brown, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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