Mount Kenya University has installed Prof Deogratius Jaganyi as the second vice chancellor.
He took over from Prof Stanley Waudo, who served in the same capacity for 13 years. The event was held in Thika on Friday.
MKU chairman and founder Prof Simon Gicharu said it took a year to recruit Prof Jaganyi.
He said the new VC has more than 20 years of experience in the management of academic institutions of international repute.
The don previously worked at South Africa’s University of KwaZulu-Natal.
“We embarked on this exercise of recruiting Prof Waudo’s successor more than a year ago. It was a challenging exercise. We cast the net far and wide, looking for an academic leader who had strong work ethic, leadership skills and passion to steer us to the next phase of progress,” Gicharu said.
Gicharu said under Waudo’s leadership, the university was awarded a charter, won several global meritorious awards and was position one in a number of international research grants awarded to private universities in Kenya.
“Under Prof Waudo’s stewardship, over 100,000 students graduated, achieved internationalisation and established several allied institutions – notably Equip Africa Institute,” he said.
Gicharu dispelled concerns that the new VC was South African. He said Jaganyi is a Kenyan who worked for decades in South Africa.
“Jaganyi completed his primary school in 1974 and secondary in 1978 at St Teresa Boys in Eastleigh,” he said.
He then went to Strathmore College in Lavington, where he sat his Form Six exam. He later joined the University of Nairobi before proceeding to Imperial College for his PhD.
Jaganyi joined the University of Natal in South Africa (later renamed University of KwaZulu-Natal) as a Physical Chemistry lecturer in 1993.
Jaganyi said he would focus on research and innovation, while ensuring students gain skills.
“The types of jobs being created are in the emerging fields of ICT. Companies want ‘ABCD’; A for artificial intelligence, B for blockchain, C for cloud computing, and D for data analytics. These are skills that companies need to remain globally competitive, and they look up to universities to provide the required human resource,” he said.
Jaganyi said he will ensure that MKU is ready for Kenyans who have recently started schooling under the Competency Based Curriculum.
“MKU will review and align the existing undergraduate programmes to CBC and develop world-class, market-oriented and transformative academic programmes,” he said.
Prof Jaganyi promised to drive MKU forward in the new era of digital technology amid Covid-19.
Government officials, led by Education CAS Zack Kinuthia, attended the event.