by Makau wa Mutua.
Who can doubt that MKU Meru campus, the newest shining gem of the Mountain is an exemplar of excellence and quality in the provision of world class education in line with the Mount Kenya University motto of attaining infinite possibilities? The multimillion investment by Chair Board of Directors and founder of Mount Kenya University, Professor Simon Gicharu is the shinning Gem of the Mountain (Mount Kenya University) standing tall and towering all the competitors as it welcomes all Kenyans to drink from its cool springs of knowledge.
Professor Gicharu an innovative entrepreneur, with world class reputation as an entrepreneurial guru with the most coveted global recognition in the hall of fame. The management and entrepreneurial pundit believes that great leaders are committed to renewal and a continuing willingness to learn, adapt and respond to turbulences brought in by environmental changes. All top notch leaders of management understand that, institutions and firms that move from good to great have one thread in common, the humility and acuteness of vision: These qualities are an embodied in the vision career of Mount Kenya Univeristy founder, Professor Simon Gicharu.
The month of May 2021 is one those that will remain most memorable to Staff and students of Mount Kenya University, Meru campus. This is the period the campus received the new Vice chancellor of Mount Kenya University Professor Deo Jaganyi. Prof Jaganyi, a renowned scholar and leader, is a full Professor with a PhD in Physical Chemistry conferred in 1992 from Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of London, England. The literati has Published 105 articles, 93 of them in peer-reviewed international journals, with more under review. He has written over 90 conference abstracts. Prof Jaganyi a top notch researcher, is a picture of humility and thoughtful disposition. It is popularly known in the scholarly world that, humility comes easily to leaders who were not born with a silver spoon in their mouths; on the converse a family name and lineage creates a sense of entitlement, hence feeding pride and disadvantaging humbleness.
Full of zest and good-heartedness, this serious academician and literati per excellence, is steering leadership of Mount Kenya University with the time tested tools of organizational skills, time management and deep sensitivity to students’ welfare. In a move never witnessed before, the vice chancellor has committed to all students that cases of missing marks will be a thing of the past. With aid of the Deputy vice chancellor academics and research affairs, Dr. Bibian Waiganjo the academic staff team have put in measures and mechanisms for accounting for each and every student grade before results are published resting this matter, which has been a thorn in the flesh of a few students.
The vice chancellor of Mount Kenya University concluded his tours to campuses and ODEL centers by visiting Meru campus which is the home of the great Mount Kenya, translating to the Mountain of he who shines with greatness, popularly known as Mount Kenya. It is knowledge in the common intellectual circles and common parlance that, if you want to drink from oasis of wisdom ask questions to a wise man; sages remarked that he laughs best who laughs last and that is Meru campus, whose visit was an exemplification of the vice chancellors tours to all other tours to MKU campuses ad ODEL centers. Mark the words of elders that, a tree that ignores its roots has no life; from the times of the great Agikuyu Legend Mugo wa Kibiro, a prophesy was made of a tree that shall sprout from the Mountain, which shall be a home to birds, feeding and habiting birds from all walks of life, that shall speak in strange tongues and fly from the tree happy and with full bellies. The great prophesy has manifested as Mount Kenya university the home of greatness and excellence in provision of world class education to meet and exceeding the expectations of its clients.
In his own words the great man of letters, Professor Deo Jaganyi described the visit to Meru as his last, but also his best due to the great reception he received from the students, who gave him a presidential welcome in pomp, dance and music as the staff prepared a memento inform of engraved portrait on the meru oak wood. Not all leaders dance skills are created equal, but it is apt to quip that Professor Jaganyi can cut a rung. Word cannot describe the VC’s minuet ballroom moves mimicking the Ameru dancing style, in the rhythm of the tom-tom drums, percussion instruments, core in Ameru folk dances. A great shepherd taking part in the dance of his flock. It is worth noting that the Meru campus folk song dancers have emerged champions twice in the national music festivals and are still the defending champion in their category.
The members of staff were overjoyed to be honored by the VC’s visit. They got an opportunity to tap wisdom from the VC, who is simply a walking library. Members of staff were happy to have a chance to explain to the CEO of the university their roles in making MKU great. Recognition and appreciation of staff is a key contributor to staff motivation. By listening to all staff, the vice-chancellor affirmed that he cares and has time for each and every member of his flock and appreciates their spirited contributions to the larger success of Mount Kenya University. The vice chancellor affirmed that he was not a satellite manager to manage the university from the comfort of his seat at the Thika main campus. He promised to be taking time out of his busy schedule to work from the campuses so that he can be able to mentor and provide focus for the university vision and direction, in a bid to provide shared vision to all workers of Mount Kenya University.
William Shakespeare, over 400 years ago remarked that, “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.” – these views of William Shakespeare would surely have been a strand in the success stories of many individuals, in corporate as well as public life as they sensed an opportunity and strode forth purposefully to take their careers and their groups to success. This prophetic words describe Professor, Deo Jaganyi who has taken the helm of Mount Kenya University to steer it to growth and prosperity, as he ekes his name in the annals of history as the 2nd vice chancellor of Mount Kenya University.
Prof Jaganyi a top notch researcher, is a picture of humility and thoughtful disposition. It is popularly known in the scholarly world that, humility comes easily to leaders who were not born with a silver spoon in their mouths – a family name and lineage creates a sense of entitlement. During his visit to Meru campus he reinvigorated members of Meru campus to look into the mirror, to examine what was flawed in their working life and to work strenuously to correct this. During his interaction with staff his ideas and insights proved to be of more enduring value to the growth, sustainability and prosperity of Mount Kenya University.
The Vice chancellor of Mount Kenya University was accompanied by Principal coordination of campuses Mr. Nahashon Mwirigi, a leader who he described as ‘his right hand man.” due to high diligence and commitment that, he shows in all his work as well as his principle of management by objectives and facts. The vice chancellor praised the principal saying he does not sugar coat or wear rosy glasses to please, on the contrary he described him as a man who presents facts as they are, a quality he treasures in him. He encouraged all members of staff to emulate him. To the Principal, leaders’ continual willingness to learn and adapt can enable companies to last and move from “good to great” over decades. And if there is one thread one should pick up from all successful companies, it is possibly the humility of their leaders. Sharing an anecdote with the staff, the Principal used the analogy of a king’s mouth, which he stated that, if you look at a king’s mouth you may not believe that those lips once suckled his mother’s breasts. The analogy was key in encouraging staff to keep on believing in their goals and aim high in their personal and career paths.
The MKU Meru campus director, Madam, Karen Mungania, a transformational leader who is driving change and adaptability in Meru Campus staff team. To do so, she focuses on team formation, championing inclusion of all in planning, and encouraging strategic thinking to grow Meru campus to make it a shining beacon of excellence at the peak of the Mountain, to be emulated by all other campus directors. Under the management of the director, the campus has programs nested in the following schools, running across, regular/ day, evening, Weekend, Dibel (previously school based mode) and ODEL( virtual/distance learning mode) modes of study. Seeing is believing, thus the director welcomes applicants to Mount Kenya university Meru campus, to come and enjoy a unique learning ambience of the new structure and facilities, taught by the best faculty a university can have. The VC’s visit came at an opportune time, when Meru campus had just relocated from Nkubu to Meru town. In the newest magnificent state of the art building equipped with the latest ICT and Library resources, the VC’s visit would not come at better time.