The new Egerton University Chancellor, the multi-millionaire businessman Narendra Raval appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta weeks ago will be at the Njoro based campus tomorrow Friday. One of Kenya’s most successful businessmen and philanthropists will be visiting the institution for the first time since he took over from the immediate outgoing Chancellor, Professor Shem Oyoo Wadiga, following the announcement in the Kenya Gazette of February 22.
Through his official communications channel, Raval has indicated that he will be having a meeting with bodies mandated to manage and run the institution including the University Senate. He is expected to gear up resolution of problems currently facing the institution with an imminent financial crisis on top of the list. He is also expected to reconcile the vice chancellor Prof Rose Mwonya with the University Council which suspended her but was later forced to reinstate her through a court order.
Within his first week of serving at the institution, the steel billionaire declared that he wont be taking a dime as salary for his services at the university but will donate them in entirety as bursaries to the needy students at the institution.
The tycoon now joins an exclusive club of prominent Kenyan business leaders who have been appointed by President Kenyatta to head Government-owned universities in the recent past. They include steel and aluminum magnate Manu Chandaria as Chancellor of Technical University of Kenya, Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi as Chancellor Meru University and logistics tycoon Peter Muthoka as Chancellor Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology.
Within the Kenyan context, the University Chancellor plays a ceremonial role for the most part. He is the titular head of the institution. In the name of the University, he can confer degrees and grants diplomas, certificates and other awards of the University. He occasionally makes visitations to the University and acts as an adviser to the University council.
Raval, who is popularly referred to as ‘Guru’ in Kenyan business and social circles, is the founder of Devki Group, a company with annual revenues of more than $600 million. The company produces steel products, roofing sheets and cement among other things.