Africa University perseveres in Zimbabwe's hard times
9/25/2003 News media contact: Linda Green · (615) 742-5470 · Nashville, Tenn
By Pamela Crosby*
Africa University. Photo number W03019, Accompanies UMNS #457
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - United Methodist-related
Africa University has managed to maintain its health and vitality
despite the economic and social turmoil in its host country, Zimbabwe,
school officials say.
"In spite of the fact that Zimbabwe is
experiencing crippling inflation and unbelievable shortages of food and
fuel and other things, the superb budget management of our bursar, vice
chancellor, general secretaries and many others have made it possible to
finish each of the last three fiscal years with no deficit," said
Aubrey K. Lucas, president emeritus of the University of Southern
Mississippi and treasurer for the Africa University Board of Directors.
acknowledging the school's resilience, Africa University's development
committee is also confronting the need for increasing support from the
Nancy M. Carruth, a long-time champion of higher
education, asked the group at its September meeting to encourage all
delegates to the 2004 General Conference to continue support for Africa
University. "Let them know that when the Africa University petition
comes to the floor, saying 'yes' is a vote for the students of Africa
University and future leadership on the African continent."
members strategized about helping United Methodists understand that the
denomination's original commitment of $20 million to the university for
the quadrennium - $10 million toward the apportionment and $10 million
toward the World Service Special endowment - has never been met. Local
churches must give equally to both the apportionment and the endowment
in order for the university to meet its day-to-day and operational
needs, the committee said.
Africa University's Vice Chancellor
Rukudzo Murapa thanked the school's Legacy Society - whose members
invest in the school through planned giving - as well as the development
committee for their commitment to the university.
S. Lyght of the church's New York Area - the newest member to the board
of directors and the development committee - expressed excitement about
the committee's work. "When you hear about the wars, when you hear about
the rumors of wars, when you hear about what is going on in Zimbabwe
and other places, remember that God is on the throne. â€¦ The morning is
coming. It is a new day."
During the development committee's
biannual meeting, staff executive James Salley told members that Africa
University's ability to "survive within an unfriendly economic and
political environment reinforces our belief that the university is a
gift from God." Salley is Africa University's associate vice chancellor
for institutional advancement.
The university began classes Aug.
18 with a projected enrollment of 1,200 students representing 21 African
countries. "In spite of the scarcity of certain commodities in the
country," Salley said, "the dining hall did not miss a meal."
members celebrated a $1.6 million in-kind gift through a collaboration
with the Christian Alliance for Humanitarian Aid, which is partnering
with Africa University and others to ship medical supplies, seeds, food
concentrates and items to Zimbabwe.
In other business, the committee: Â·
Learned that the Christian Alliance for Humanitarian Aid has stored and
prepared for shipment 100,000 HIV/AIDS test kits for Africa University.
Prescription medicines, vitamins, and mineral products also have been
donated. Â· Highlighted the results of the Usahwira (you-suh-we-rah)
project, which helps local churches begin a relationship with the
university in a variety of ways. # # # *Crosby is a staff member of the Office of Interpretation of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.