At a colorful ceremony in Sinje, Grand Cape Mount County, the University of Liberia (UL) honored and gowned four traditional chiefs of the county whose donation of 1000 acres of their farmland aided the construction of the David A. Straz-Sinje Jr.-Technical and Vocational College. The ceremony was held Wednesday, December 4, 2019 on the UL’s Straz-Sinje Campus, where the UL officially opened the activities of the Centennial Commencement Convocation starting with the traditional Arts and Craft Exhibition.  Those honored were Sinje Town Dean Elder Moneru Sonii Gohn Zodua, Dean Elder Henry Congor Boakai Zodua Manivalu Town Dean Elder Alieu Dukuly and Konoma Town Dean Elder Varney G. Kiadii. The Head of the University of Liberia Management Team, Vice President for Administration Prof. Weade Kobbah-Boley gowned the honorees,  and said the elders will go down in the history of Grand Cape Mount County and of the Republic of Liberia for providing to UL, the 1,000 acres of land. “When God is ready to do great things, HE moves men,” she said. “This led to the vision and the dream of the elders who were moved to donate land to the University of Liberia.” According to Prof. Boley, the decision taken by the elders to donate the 1,000 acres of land to the University of Liberia was nothing small. “You will go down in history of this county and the Republic of Liberia for this kind gesture,”she added. According to Prof. Boley, people who have an interest in their children and are concerned about the future of their children are people who make marks that will live beyond them, adding that that those who are big government officials, big businessmen, and big international diplomats are no different from the children here in Liberia and their brains are not any better than the brains of the children here. However, she said the only difference that stands between ‘big people’ and the children of Liberia is the fact that the ‘big people’ have taken the time off to get education. “So, when you prepare your children, your old age can be peaceful,” Madam Boley said. At the same time, Prof. Boley applauded former Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and former UL President Dr. Emmet A. Dennis for reviving the project and bringing it to where it is today. Making special remarks, Prof. Dr. Emmet A. Dennis, said he recalls how during his leadership at the University, he was called by former Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to her house and introduced to the late Amb. David A. Straz. He said he was mandated to present to the American philanthropist a vision for the establishment of the now Straz-Sinje Technical and Vocational College. Dr. Dennis said the rest became history after the two of them met, as he lavished praise on the late Amb. Straz, after whom the College is named, remembering Dr. Straz’s humanitarian services to UL and immense support toward the establishment of the technical college at Sinje. He said that every visit Amb. Straz made to Liberia, he visited the Straz-Sinje College to see first-hand, the progress that was being made on the renovation of the college. Speaking earlier at the occasion, the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Liberia, Prof. Dr. William E.

Allen who also chairs the Centennial Commencement Committee, said the occasion at Sinje was in observance of the University’s custom to begin its Commencement with the Arts and Craft exhibition. “When we have this arts and craft displayed, it means that we are opening our commencement season. So, our commencement season officially begins today,” declared Dr. Allen. Making remarks on behalf of the honorees, Dean Elder Moneru Sonii  expressed thanks to the University for the recognition given the elders over the donation of the land. However, Dean Elder Sonii admonished the University to act fast and develop the land to avoid intruders from encroaching on it. Additionally, Elder Sonii appealed to the University to include nursing program at StrazSinje to cut down the distance of students who have an interest in doing nursing have to travel. For his part, Mr. Idrissa Mansary, a prominent citizen and b u s i n e s s m a n o f t h e county,applauded the University for constructing the Sinje campus, and promised that he will personally construct facilities close to the Sinje campus to help lodge students who will come from far distances to attend school at Sinje.