It was praise and celebration galore as the management, staff, and students of Babcock University (BU), Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State rolled out the drum to mark the Founder’s Day even as stakeholders acknowledged its contribution in providing quality university education as well as a breakthrough in research.
The stakeholders made the observations at the celebration of Adventist College of West Africa (ACWA) and Babcock University, Ilisha-Remo as one of the first private universities in the country.
The double celebration was the gathering of who is who including BU first and second Vice-Chancellors, Prof Adekunle Alalade and Prof Kayode Makinde, Pro-Chancellor of BU, Pastor Bassey Udoh, executives of Alumni association and parent forum, management team of BU led by the VC, Prof Ademola Tayo, staff and students, representatives of some universities, traditional rules, host communities and financial institutions.
The Pro-Chancellor, Pastor Udoh described the celebration as a joyful one and acknowledged the sacrifice made by past leaders to ensure the success of ACWA and BU. He commended the VC and his management team for holding forth and breaking new grounds.
His words: ‘’Our past leaders fought a good fight for us to exist. They made the right decisions and today, we have gathered here to celebrate the fruit of their labour. We must not disappoint them.’’
In his address, the VC of BU, Prof Tayo said the story of the university is the story of the journey of grace, stating ‘’what is BU today was conceived in 1914 and assumed a life of its own on September 17, 1959, as ACWA for the training of church workers from the West Africa sub-region.’’
According to him, ACWA made history in 1975 by becoming the premier institution to sign an affiliation agreement with Andrews University, Berrien Springs Michigan, USA to train students and award bachelor degrees in some courses.
Prof Tayo stressed that the founders of ACWA kept the faith and it paid off when BU became chartered on April 20, 1999, as the first private university and was inaugurated on June 17, 1999. He said BU admitted 106 students as the first set on September 13, 1999.
Said he: ‘’Sixty years today, that enterprise, which started with seven students, now has a diversified student population of over 10,000, and over 20,000 alumni across the globe.
‘’We can better understand the growth of BU over the past decades if we consider the national context in which this campus was founded. It was founded at a time of great need of expansion in access to higher education particularly in the training of manpower in critical areas of national need, and BU was to play a key role in facilitating that growth in Nigeria.’’
Tayo explained that BU’s idea of education upholds the importance of the highest academic standard and assured the nation that the university would continue to produce qualified manpower.
The VC further noted that through its alumni and alumnae, BU has over the past two decades, contributed to the political, industrial, economic and cultural development of the country, stating ‘’the cutting-edge education that BU provides enables the graduates to hold their heads high anywhere they find themselves.’’
President of Alumni Association told the gathering that Nigerians are proud of BU and stressed that 20 years in the life of a school is a milestone.
He said the association salute the finding fathers of BU and noted that their vision has paid off, ‘’the anniversary celebration should rekindle in us how to support a worthy project. The association has started to raise funds to support the university.’’
Representatives of Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Clifford University, Owerrinta, Abia State and Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State in their goodwill messages, acknowledged the contributions of BU to the provision of quality university education in the country.
The institutions affirmed that since inception, BU as one of the first private universities has one of the best facilities in the country, introduced new programmes and produced graduates making waves in the nation’s economy.
The traditional ruler of Ago-Iwoye, Oba Abdul Rasaq, said BU has come to stay in Ijebu Remo and that the institution has made the World to know about Ilishan-Remo and commended the finding fathers of the university for making the right decision.
‘’Any parent, who want to give university education to his/her child, BU is their first choice. BU in the last twenty years has made giant strides. The entire people of Ijebu Remo are solidly behind the institution and will continue to partner with the university to achieve results.’’
The university conferred awards on eleven corporate bodies, on seven donors, long service award to 20 staff from 25 years and above, nine BU leadership awards including the first founder of Seventh-day Adventist Church, Pastor Groover Winslow and the current VC, Prof Tayo. Also, four individuals bagged the Pro chancellors, Governing councils chairman awards while the Chancellors/ Board Chairmen awards were given to four persons.