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Friday, July 19, 2024

UL STUDENTS BESTOWED PRESTIGIOUS HONOR ON AMOS C. SAWYER COLLEGE DEAN

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MONROVIA – In recognition of his exemplary leadership, professional development and commitment to quality education and creativity at the University of Liberia, the students at the university have bestowed a prestigious honor on the Dean of the Amos C. Sawyer College of social Sciences and Humanities, Associate Professor Dr. Josephus M. Gray. The honor also recognized Dr. Gray’s outstanding contribution in several aspects; capacity building, staff, students and faculty advancement, as well as the introduction of new academic programs and scholarship opportunities.

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Dean of the Amos C. Sawyer College of social Sciences and Humanities, Associate Professor Dr. Josephus M. Gray

This is the third honor and award in successions that students of the University of Liberia have bestowed on him. The first was the Association of UL Students with Disability while the second honor came from the UL 103rd Graduation Class which honored Dean Gray as the “most progressive dean” at the nation’s premier University.

Besides the honor, Dr. Gray was certificated and gowned by the students, staffs and faculty members of the Social Work Unit at the University of Liberia as part of the 2024 Department Awards for exemplary leadership and creativity the highest honor awarded to administrator who have best demonstrated academic excellence and leadership. The ceremony was attended by several student leaders from across the seven colleges, staffs, faculty, chairpersons and well-wishers.

In his welcome remarks, the President of the Social Work Students Association (SOWKSA), Mr. Abdulai Kamara said: “Now more than ever, it is time to celebrate the accomplishments of our esteemed Dean who has helped us to focus on getting the most out of our college education.

He highlighted the key accomplishments of Dr. Gray which he said move them to recognize and bestow honor on the ACS College’s dean. The student’s leader recounted that the college, under the leadership of Dr. Gray has experienced unique transformation and development. According to Mr. Kamara, the ACS College’s Dean is more than any other faculty member; he goes above and beyond to show how much he cares for his students, faculty and staff, adding that “it’s always unique to see him around.”

He pinpointed that Dr. Gray’s ascendency as Dean of the College has made the institution visible to the public, thus strengthening ties with other sisterly colleges and universities across the globe. Mr. Kamara added that the ACS College has taken its rightful place as the flagship college among colleges at the University of Liberia.  He recounted numerous achievements at the college and emphasized that through tireless efforts backed by the Dean undisputable connection and creativity, opportunities are now available for staffs, students and faculty members to pursue advanced studies abroad.

Mr. Kamara continued that under the dynamic leadership Dr. Gray, the ACS College curricula have been revised with the introduction of new academic programs, the reintroduction of thesis across the entire college and the introduction academic excellence annual recognition and honoring awards which encourage student, staffs and faculty members to strive for academic excellence.

Describing Dr. Gray as “progressive and creative” Dean at the University of Liberia, Mr. Kamara  said the students, staffs and faculty members of the Social Work Unit were excited and overwhelmed with pride to honor and gown Dr. Gray for his exemplary  leadership, especially his “open door” policy which affords everyone the opportunity to reach out and connect with him.

The various student leaders from the seven colleges and other students groups at UL appealed to Dean Gray to extend his capacity development initiatives to others colleges. The student leaders thanked the social Work Students Association for the honor bestowed on Dr. Gray.

In separate remarks, the student leaderships representing departments, colleges and programs across the University of Liberia applauded Dr. Gray for his strong commitment to the advancement of students, staffs and faculty members in the ACS College. In his brief remarks, Mr. Teddy E. Sayon, President, Biological Sciences Students Association praised the Sawyer College’s Dean for his leadership style, innovation, creativity and support towards students’ development and advancement. Mr.  Sayon stressed that Dr. Gray’s tireless effort is the driving force behind the tangibles and visible development in the college. He, then thanked the Social Work Students Association for recognizing and gowning Dean Gray.

For his part, Mr. Yanquoi A. Molubah, Speaker Interim Student Representative Assembly described Dr. Gray as creativity Dean and thanked him for creating a vibrant atmosphere in the college, particularly the Dean’s unique open policy and his compassionate attitude towards his fellowmen especially students and faculty members. Mr. Molubah praised Dr. Gray for his hard work in shifting education at Sawyer College and the UL at large. He said student leaders across the University of Liberia are keenly observing the works of Dean Gray and assured him that his efforts will not go unnoticed.

Mr. Amdou L. Siryon, President, Social Work Students Association said Dr. Gray open door policy gives students and faculty members the opportunity to reach out and to connect with him and even motivate students to take advantage of the numerous opportunities at the institution. “He always allow students can talk to him about personal questions, academic ideas, or anything that is of vital importance to student wellbeing”, he stressed.

Also speaking, Mr. Amara Kiazolu, President, Chemistry Students Association said he was touched and excited about the numerous achievements of Dr. Gray’s leadership outlined by all the speakers at the program. He appealed to other deans to emulate Dr. Gray’s support for students and staffs’ advancement to gain quality education abroad.

Student leaders who graced the historic occasion include: Amdou L. Siryon, President, Social Work Students Association; Teddy E. Sayon, President, Biological Sciences Students Association; Amara Kiazolu, President, Chemistry Students Association and Anthony B. Saah Bonkie, President Public Health Students Association. Other were Joseph F. Gotolo, President  Agriculture and Forestry Students Association; Ismael A.V. Sirleaf, President UL Muslim Students Association; Yanquoi A. Molubah, Speaker Interim Student Representative Assembly and Richard Twah Jr., President, 104th Graduating Class.

Serving as guest speaker, Dr. Moses C. T. Jarbo, Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Liberia, described the Dean of the Amos C. Sawyer College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Prof. dr. Gray as a distinct leader who embodies commitment and embraces academic excellence. Dr. Jarbo said Dean Gray has transformed Sawyer College into a center of excellence and opportunities. “As we celebrate Dr. Gray’s achievements, let us know that success is not determined by upbringing, but through perseverance. Dean Gray’s leadership is not by chance, but a call to serve”, Dr. Jarbo pinpointed.

According to Dr. Jarbo, the Social Work Students’ decision to honor the College’s Dean is very necessary, appreciated and truly represents the students’ appreciation for numerous visible tangibles at the college.

Recounting Dr. Gray’s role in academic and public sectors, Dr. Jarbo said Dr. Gray grew up in his native Grand Kru where he experienced challenges of life and upon this backdrop, he embarked on education and through hard work and determination, he successfully earned Ph.D. in International Relations with distinction from a French pioneer graduate school in the field of International Relations and Political Science, HELP-CEDS University in Paris, Republic of France. Graduated in May 2002 with bachelor’s degrees in Mass Communication (Print Journalism) and earned master’s degree in in International Relation in 2008 from the University of Liberia.

Describing Dr. Gray as one of Liberia’s outstanding professor, scholars, authors, journalists and diplomats, Dr. Jarbo disclosed that Dr. Gray holds dozen of diplomas and certificates in Foreign policy Studies, international relations, diplomacy, print journalism, development communication, and political science from Paris, France; Geneva, Switzerland; Beijing, China; Washington, D.C., USA; Cape Town, South Africa; Rabat, Morocco; Accra, Ghana and Dakar, Senegal.

Dr. Gray, Chairman of the Council of Deans at the University of Liberia, also serves as Associate Professor of International Relations and Dean of Amos C. Sawyer College.  Dr. Gray has worked in several strategic positions in both public and private sectors including Senior Policy Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liberia, Assistant Foreign Minister for Public Affairs; Political Counselor at the Embassy of Liberia in Paris, France, and Charge D’ Affairs at Liberia Permanent Mission to the Swiss Federation and the United Nations in Genera, Switzerland and Senior Research Fellow at the International Institute of Research for Strategic and Foreign Policy Studies in Paris.

According to Dr. Jarbo,   the Sawyer College’s Dean has wildly written and published over 300 per-reviewed articles in local and international journals and three books, adding that his recent book characterizes the existing relationships among Liberia, China and the United States of America as “triangular.

Professor Gray’s book: “The Effect of Diplomacy” has been selected as one of the top books around the world for use by the film industry. Dr. Gray who is also Sharda University in India Ambassador to the Republic of Liberia latest Book presents a compelling narrative that has the potential to translate into a thought-provoking documentary film to bring exceptional stories to the screen.

Performing the gowning ceremony, the Assistant Dean for Student Activities at the University of Liberia, Rev. Samuel Argbason poured praises on Dr. Gray for his tireless effort to transform Amos C.  Sawyer College and University of Liberia. “people may not reward you for your hard work, visible transformation and development of this college, but Almighty God will continue to protect you to succeed,” Rev. Argbason noted.   He used the occasion to encourage Dr. Gray to remain steadfast in his development agenda, especially students, faculty and staffs advancement. He added:  May your exemplary leadership continue to shift education in Liberia

The Coordinator of Social Work Unit at University of Liberia, Mr. Joseph F. Kpukuyou praised Dr. Gray for his numerous supports to inspire students and faculty, particularly the Dean’s open door policy which he said gives everyone the opportunity to connect with the dean on personal and academic issues.  On behalf of the students, staffs and faculty of the Social Work Unit, Amos C. Sawyer College at the University of Liberia, Mr. Kpukuyou disclosed that the “Certificate of Honor” recognizes one who makes exceptional impacts in and outside of the University of Liberia in the areas of quality leadership, academic, research and human development.

The Social Work program at the University of Liberia started with only four students, but now it is one of the fastest growing academic department at the institution. The Social Work Unit was voted by students and faculty as the Best Academic Department of the University of Liberia due to the excellent performance of students in academic exercises at the College.

Also speaking at the program, the Chairman of the Department Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology, Assistant Prof. Dr. J. Kerkula Foeday, thanked the students for the honor, noting that as a social worker, he believes that the word “thank” is what motivates someone to do more.

According to him, Dr. Gray fully deserved to be honored. He applauded Dr. Gray for his motivation and innovation in the college and urged him to do more. Dr. Foeday described Dr. Gray as a leader who makes sure that what he wants becomes a success.  Dr. Foeday concluded that the honoring program is the kind of unifying spirit needed in the college.

In separate remarks, Assistants Professors Richmond S. Anderson and Jethro Tamba, Chairpersons of the Departments of Political Science and Geography, respectively lauded Dr. Gray for his developmental and innovative leadership at the Amos C. Sawyer College. Rev. Prof. Tamba used the program to describe Dr. Gray in two words: Innovation and Creativity. He, also praised the Social Work Unit for the well-deserved recognition Dean Gray.

Reflecting on the prestigious honor and recognition, Prof. Dr. Josephus Gray remarked. “I’m overwhelmed and excited for this great honor, this is one of the greatest recognition and honor bestowed on me; indeed, it represents your true appreciation for my hard work.”

He thanked the social work students, faculty and staffs for the recognition and said he was out of words to express appreciation. Dr. Gray implored students to use their education to “help change and guide their communities.”  He encourages the students to take advantage of the outstanding opportunities and programs to maximize intellectual growth and experience personal enrichment.

Dr. Gray described honoring ceremony as a great challenge and a tremendous privilege, adding that it was an honor to be recognized at such high level, and for that, he was extremely grateful to everyone who has helped him along the way, from dedicated staffs, professors to his friends and family.

Dr. Gray urged the students to forsake selfish goals in favor of public service and practice resilience, pursue purpose, nurture relationships, embrace change, innovate, accept responsibility to lead, and persevere to embark on daunting  journey into ‘a world of infinite possibilities.

He reminded the students and faculty that university community is still too full of hate, envy, violence, bigotry, and prejudice, but said only an enlightened people can change that for the greater good for everyone. He, therefore, admonished the students and faculty to use their chosen professions, experience and education to help.   Dr. Gray used the occasion to outline the numerous unblemished evidence landmark achievements, describing the college as the pioneer and torchbearer of tertiary education in Liberia with history of academic excellence and praiseworthy tangible achievements in the educational sector.

According to Dr. Gray, the Amos C. Sawyer College under the current deanship has prestigiously positioned itself on a new academic trajectory that establishes a profound unique collaboration and partnership with other sophisticated sisterly and globally recognized institutions of higher learning- universities across the globe, particularly West Europe, United States of America,  Asia, and West Africa, as well as with North and South Africa. Dr. Gray disclosed that his vision is derived from the philosophy of the institution-students-centered-president, Prof. Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo’s academic outreach crusade to elevate UL on a new academic route enriched with the widely acclaimed quality education, coupled with the academically refined knowledge and wisdom of the faculty’s capacity, development, and students’ exchange inspiration.

Speaking further, Prof. Gray who is appointed Sharda University in India Ambassador to Liberia, said without an iota of doubts, the ACS College can boost of numerous achievements including the signing of several landmark Memoranda       of Understanding (MoU) successfully featuring five universities and Colleges in Richmond, Mississippi State, America; Paris, France; New Delhi, India; Savannah, Georgia; Tilburg, Netherlands and Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

These institutions include Sharda University in New Delhi, India; Hinds Community College in Mississippi, USA; Paris Graduate School. France; Savannah, State University, USA; Tilburg University, Netherlands and L’ University Charles Louis De Montesquieu (UCLM) Cocody, Abidjan, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire.

According to Dean Gray, UL students and faculty are the most beneficiaries of academic collaboration and partnership in the areas of quality education and academic excellence.

He said in spite of the prevailing economic constraints and numerous challenges, the Amos C. Sawyer College vigorously continues to strive and uphold its core values, as well as academic excellence and the introduction new evaluation methods to determine students’ progress and critical thinking. Besides, the ACS College has the highest number of female students in the university, this can be described as a cornerstone achievement for Dean Gray’s leadership.

According to Dr. Gray, eleven Teaching Assistants from the Department of Demography are back in the country after a one-year of master studies in Population Studies from the Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana, Legon. Additionally, 20 faculty members and several staffs from the ACS College are pursuing various master and doctorate studies in numerous disciplines abroad. Out of the 39 faculty members and staffs studying abroad, 11 are in India while seven are in China for advanced studies. Others are in Europe and Africa while additional seven are expected to depart this year for study in India at Sharda University in New Delhi.

Under the Dean’s leadership, the College was able to establish for the first time in history, a faculty lounge and Research Center. Through the hard work of Dr. Gray, about 130 part-time faculty members got full employment including the employment of more than 30 support staffers to various positions. Other achievements include the reintroduction uniform thesis across the College. The exercise which is one of the major requirements for students, gives the students the chance to present and defend their research works in front of a 7-member Thesis Committee appointed by the dean.

The achievements include the huge enrollment of female students compared to other colleges at the university; the establishment of a research desk in the Office of the Dean and the establishment of a proposed MSc and MSW Programs in Sociology, Communication and Professional Writing and Social Work, respectively.

Other areas of achievements include the annual recognition and presentations of academic excellence awards to faculty, staffs and students for outstanding performance and service. About 90% of the College’s curricula have been revised including the introduction of a new degree programs as well as certificate and diploma programs, while the ACS College is about to establish a Tourism Program at the Department of Geography.

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