Mount Kigali University taps former HEC Executive Director as chairman of University Council

Author: Nadia Kangabe
On:5/06/2023 8:42
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Mount Kigali University has tapped Dr Innocent Sebasaza Mugisha, the former Executive Director of Higher Education Council, as chairman of its Council.

The international university, formerly known as Mount Kenya University Rwanda, was granted permission for change of name through a Cabinet resolution chaired by His Excellency President Paul Kagame in April, 2023.

Mount Kigali University is now an autonomous international institution of higher learning, and not a cross-border campus.

“I agree with the cabinet decision to approve the change of name from Mount Kenya University Rwanda (MKUR) to Mount Kigali University (MKU),” says Dr. Mugisha. “The name reflects Rwanda's pride, and it resonates well with the country’s identity.”

 But even with the change of name, the university retains the same academic reputation, infrastructure, sponsorship, and commitment to academic excellence that were the hallmarks of its precursor – MKUR.

Mount Kigali University will also continue to offer high quality international education at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

 “This new name -Mount Kigali University- honours our own identity as Rwandan people,” says Dr. Mugisha. “But we will still be offering international education and the university will remain foreign-owned.”  
 Mount Kigali is one of the most prominent and historically-relevant places in Rwanda. Standing at 6,079 ft tall, it stretches to parts of Nyamirambo, Kimisagara and Kigali. It is this mountain that also gave the country’s capital Kigali its name.
 “Scaling this tall mountain symbolizes the academic progression of our students,” adds Dr. Mugisha who is a former Director of Quality Assurance at the University of Rwanda.

“Since it overlooks the City of Kigali, our goal is to ensure our students stand head and shoulders above the rest in academics. In addition, the students will gradually progress from First Year as they acquire more knowledge and skills, which is similar to climbing a mountain.”

 Dr. Mugisha, says Mount Kigali University will continue operating from its permanent home Gatenga in Kicukiro District. “In order to remain internationally competitive, we will sustain that one location as a centre of excellence.”

In an interview with the press, Dr. Mugisha outlined his vision as the first chairman of the Mount Kigali University council. He spoke about postgraduate training, industrial linkages and internships, research, new academic programmes (in science, health and technology), community social responsibility, and the renewed commitment from the Board of Directors. 

“I am delighted that Mount Kigali University is constructing a Four-Star Hotel (Kigali Paramount), which will be a regional centre for hospitality training,” added Dr. Mugisha. The hotel will open its doors in December, 2023.

The Council chairman also said that Mount Kigali University has inherited all the CSR programs that were being conducted by MKUR. These include the $175`,000 support to Imbuto Foundation, and Girinka and Umuganda programs.

The university founder and chairman of the Board of Directors Prof. Simon N. Gicharu said the university has a lot of confidence in Dr. Mugisha, given his background in Rwanda higher education.

“Nelson Mandela famously said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’. Mount Kigali University will stay true to its commitment to continue changing the world through education, and at the same time, empower generations of Rwandans,” said Prof. Gicharu.  

A renowned educationalist, Prof. Gicharu won the 2014 Ernst & Young Eastern Africa Entrepreneur of the Year Award for his achievements in expanding access to higher education in the East African region.

At the same time, Mount Kigali University has named Dr Martin Kimemia as acting Vice Chancellor. Prof Edwin Odhuno who was serving as the Vice-Chancellor of the cross-border institution is now the secretary of University Transition Group that’s overseeing the handover of activities from Kenya.

Mount Kigali University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mount Kenya University to ensure a seamless transition, and continuous academic co-operation thereafter.