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Sierra Leone university celebrates first graduates (UM News)

March 7, 2022

The United Methodist University in Sierra Leone, founded by the late resident Bishop John K. Yambasu, graduated its first class on Feb. 26. Seven students graduated in theology, 18 with National Diplomas in Education and seven with certificates in chaplaincy. 

Yambasu, who died in a car accident in August 2020, was the chancellor of the university. Although he did not live to award certificates, his memory lives on. 

The vice chancellor, Professor George Carew, said education goes beyond producing people of skill. Christian education must help the individual grow intellectually, spiritually and morally. 

“The emphasis on skills alone,” Carew cautioned, “may create educated teachers who take bribes from their students; professional nurses and doctors who consistently exploit their patients; and politicians who betray the trust of their people and drive their country to economic ruin. Education should never produce learned monsters.” 

That is why, he said, the United Methodist University is committed to the motto of “Excellence, Integrity and Service.” 

“The multidimensional emphasis on Christian spirituality, character formation and skills acquisition in our curriculum,” Carew noted, “will necessitate the process of creating students of integrity and academic excellence.” 

The faculty of theology, the first to be established at the university, is now training chaplains for all United Methodist primary and secondary schools. The Sierra Leone Conference, Carew said, views the school system as an evangelical wing of the church and has over 300 primary and 50 secondary schools across the country. In the next four years, the university expects to train at least 400 teachers as chaplains in United Methodist schools. 

The Sierra Leone Conference’s interim episcopal leader, Bishop Warner H. Brown, was also honored for his outstanding leadership as interim bishop and chancellor of the United Methodist University.