The University of Liberia on Thursday, August 23, 2019 broke ground for the construction of a modern “State-of-the-Art” printing press on the University’s Fendall campus.

The project is estimated at more than $1 million USD. It is one of three projects the university will undertake to commemorate its centennial commencement.

According to Dr. William E. Allen, Chair of the Centennial Commencement Committee, the purpose of the printing press is to help generate financial support for the university. He said the university cannot continue to rely on subvention funds from Government for full-scale operations because competing priorities continue to overshadow government operations. “We cannot adequately support our programs. The university is expanding. Student population is growing, new programs, such a  Master’s Degree in Public Health, a Bachelor’s  and Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies—these programs require corresponding costs and government’s subvention is needed, but as there are competing interests and need, so we want to help ourselves; the printing press is the way forward,” said Dr. Allen during the fundraising program.

He said he believes that the printing press, when constructed, will bring a huge income to the university, something that will get it on its way to reflecting the true meaning of a 21st Century institution of higher learning.

Dr. Allen stated also the university needs the printing press to enable faculty who write papers, dissertations and thesis and research publish their works.

At the same time, Dr. Allen mentioned the undertaking of two additional projects before the end of the centennial celebration. He named the projects as the building of a ‘Time Capsule’  and the writing of a concise history of the University of Liberia.

He explained that a spot has been identified on the Capitol Hill campus to build the time capsule, where historical documents from the centennial commencement convocation activities and other private and public enterprise documents will be stored to be opened during the next centennial celebration.

In welcoming the guests, UL President Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks paid tribute to the centennial committee, describing the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the printing press as a ‘very important day’ in the history of the University of Liberia.

“This event is historic because we are at a very important stage in the history and development of the University of Liberia. We’re at a stage where we can no longer depend solely on the financial allotment that we get from the government of Liberia,” Dr. Weeks said. “We all recognize that there are many, many competing priorities and so we have to look for other ways that we can help ourselves.”

Dr. Weeks explained that although a sizable amount of money is needed to make it happen, the returns will be massive.

“It’s massive because we spend an enormous amount of money for printing in various shapes and forms at the university. That can be reduced if that printing press is here and we can use it as a means of generating revenue,” said Dr. Weeks at the program which was attended by mainly employees of the University of Liberia.

President Weeks who announced the building of a printing press as one her priority during her tenure at the university at her inauguration on September 13, 2017, expressed happiness that groundbreaking for the project construction has taken place.

“In my inaugural address on September 13, 2017, one of the mean things that I mentioned was a university printing press. And I’m happy that we are at the groundbreaking stage today,” she said. “We hope for this to be a reality in a relatively short time.”

Making special remarks, Chief Dr. Jewel Howard Taylor, Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, praised the University of Liberia as best part of the nation’s history, stating that most young people want to come to the nation’s premier university.

“If the University of Liberia has a printing press a lot can happen. You could print the WAEC Exams; you could print books for our Liberian authors and people will have to pay for this. So the printing press becomes an asset to the university, especially in these difficult times,” VP Howard-Taylor averred.

She appealed to the consciences of alumni and employees of the university and others to donate to the project, adding that the printing press will benefit all.

The vice president then made a monthly pledge of $500 USD to the project for the first year.

More than $19,000 USD was raised during the fundraising program, with majority of the cash and pledges coming from employees of the University of Liberia.