Mrs. Mary Chinery-Hesse Sworn in as First Female Chancellor of University of Ghana

Mrs. Mary Chinery-Hesse Sworn in as First Female Chancellor of University of Ghana

At a colourful ceremony held in the Great Hall of the University, Mrs. Mary Chinery-Hesse was sworn into office as the first female Chancellor succeeding H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan whose tenure ended on July 31, 2018.

In declaring the purpose of the gathering, the Registrar, Mrs. Mercy Haizel-Ashia indicated that Mrs. Mary Chinery-Hesse was the 10th Chancellor of the University.  She  elaborated the process of electing a Chancellor, indicating that a Nominations Committee comprising representatives from the University Council, Convocation (Academic and Administrative Senior members), Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU), Federation of University Federation of Universities Senior Staff Association of Ghana  (FUSSAG), University of Ghana Alumni Association, Graduate Students' Association of Ghana (GRASAG)-Legon and the Students Representative Council (SRC) were tasked to nominate a minimum of two and a maximum of three qualified candidates for the position of Chancellor. An Electoral College made up of an equal number of University Council and Academic Board elected Mrs. Mary Chinery-Hesse. The Registrar further highlighted the role of the Chancellor as enshrined in the University of Ghana Act, 2010, Act 806.

Registrar, Mrs. Mercy Haizel-Ashia

In his welcome address, the Chairman of Council, Prof. Yaw Twumasi, expressed appreciation to the President of the Republic for honouring the invitation from the University.  He indicated that the process for the election and investiture of the Chancellor had been seamless. He further extended best wishes from H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan to the incoming Chancellor and indicated that he could not be present due to circumstances beyond his control.  Prof. Twumasi described Mrs. Chinery-Hesse as a distinguished and eminent daughter of the land, a brilliant student as a student at the University, a personality with great intellect, wide experience and solid background in Africa and global economic affairs.

Chairman of Council, Prof. Yaw Twumasi

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, in a brief introduction of the Chancellor said Mrs. Mary Chinery-Hesse has had an illustrious career both in Ghana and beyond. Touting some of her achievements, Prof. Owusu noted that the incoming Chancellor was the first female Resident Coordinator to be appointed by the United Nations Development Programme  (UNDP), the first female Deputy Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the first female to be awarded an honorary doctorate degree by her alma mater, University of Ghana, the first African woman to become a UN Under-Secretary-General, first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for International Diplomacy, a Chief Advisor to the former President John Agyekum Kufuor, a former Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and a member of the University Council from 2006-2009.

The Vice-Chancellor further added that Mrs. Mary-Chinery-Hesse has received several awards and decorations including the highest national award, The Order of the Star of Ghana.

Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu

The Special Guest of Honour, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic in administering the Oath of Office, described Mrs. Chinery-Hesse as an outstanding Ghanaian and a worthy successor as Chancellor, considering her wealth of experience as a public servant and an international diplomat of great repute.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic

“As the first female Chancellor of a Ghanaian Public University, Mrs. Chinery-Hesse blazes again a trail for other women to follow,” the President noted, and expressed the conviction that she would bring to bear what a woman could do. Commending Mr. Kofi Annan, he described him as “one of Ghana’s most illustrious sons under whose stewardship the University attained the rank as one of the best universities in West Africa”.

In her inaugural address as Chancellor of the University Mrs. Mary Chinery-Hesse said “I salute the University for this ground-breaking appointment in the annals of university leadership. The Chancellorship position just conferred on me is one I humbly accept, cherishing more the associated responsibilities than any inherent privileges”. She promised not to be a ceremonial figure but actively contribute to the development of the University drawing from her vast experience and professional network.

Chancellor of the University Mrs. Mary Chinery-Hesse

There were spectacular performances from the Ghana Dance Ensemble, Abibigromma Resident Company, the University’s Jubilee Choir and the Ghana Police Band. Old students of Wesley Girls High School, Alumnae of Volta Hall and family members made presentations to Mrs. Chinery-Hesse.

The ceremony was well attended by dignitaries and high-profile personalities.  Among them were former President of the Republic of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor, Dr. Amos Sawyer, a former Interim President of Liberia, Her Excellency Specioca Wandira Wazimbe, a former Vice-President of Uganda, H. E. Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Former Foreign Minister of Nigeria and Former under Secretary-General of the UN, among other international diplomats.  Her Ladyship the Chief Justice was represented by Justice Julius Ansah.  The ceremony was also attended by ministers of state, members of the judiciary and legislature, esteemed traditional rulers, present and past chairmen and members of the University Council, members of convocation, alumni, staff, students and friends of the University.