One year after taking over the University of Liberia, Rev. Prof. Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson, Jr., has turned the university into a partially self-sustaining institution. “The university was fully funded by the government of Liberia, but we want to revert to sharing the cost of running this university with the government,” Nelson said. He told West African Writers (WAW) that the university has established an investment entity known as Lux Investment Corporation.
Fully registered and operational, Lux Investment is expected to partner with other institutions in and out of Liberia to raise funds for the running of the university. Nelson indicated that businesses such as a water bottling company and a printing press will soon go into operation, adding, “one of our partners in China has contributed printing machines that will help us start the printing business.” He said additional plans are being concluded to jumpstart the water bottling business. “Though these investment initiatives have not started, we hope to meet government halfway in terms of funding this university in time to come,” Nelson asserted.
He further pointed out that his administration has set up the University Land Commission that will lead the way into establishing the University City. “We will make sure the 5,800 acres of land around the university Fendell campus is utilized for the benefit of the Liberian people, especially students,” Nelson asserted. He said the commission has developed a roadmap that will make the transition from the present university location to the University City achievable.
Inducted into office November 27, 2019, the 15th President of the University of Liberia said the university will now work towards meeting the present day’s reality, stressing, “We will not do things the way we did them in the 19th century.” He said the university is no longer operating as an opposing entity to the government of Liberia. Nelson further told West African Writers that the university is now integrating e-learning into its curriculum as a result of the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. “More than 14,000 students successfully participated in our e-learning pilot project,” he emphasized.
On foreign relations, Nelson said the University of Liberia is in partnership with several universities around the world, including Nigeria and Sierra Leone. “We will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding soon that will set the stage for faculty and student exchange between the Universities of Liberia and Sierra Leone,” Nelson concluded.
Founded in 1862 as Liberia College and becoming a full university in 1951, the University of Liberia is funded mainly by the Government of Liberia. The University now has four campuses: Capitol Hill, Fendell, Medical School, and Starz-Sinji located in Sinji, Grand Cape Mount County.