Presidents’ welcome speech



The President, University of Lagos Alumni Association,
The Olor’ogun (Dr) Sonny F. Kuku, OFR, FAS

On behalf of the National Executive Committee and the entire members of the Alumni Association of this great institution, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the University of Lagos Alumni Association. The association exists, wholly and solely, to help our alumni and, by extension, the University itself succeed.

The world gets more complicated with every passing day. We get involved with our families and work and suddenly we’ve lost touch with those outside that close circle. The Alumni Association can help you stay connected to those friends and to the vast resources available here, from the faculty that taught and guided you to our libraries, seminars, symposia and an extraordinary variety of “stay connected” programmes designed with you in mind. They are all designed to support you as you pursue your post-academic life and career.

The UNILAG alumni family is huge. There are currently UNILAG Alumni Association chapters in all 36 states of the federation including the FCT, Abuja. The alumni events, networking, on-campus activities, sporting events and career advisory services available through the Alumni Association are all designed to help you be as successful as you can possibly be. After all, your success is our success.

In the University, you have been taught that the core of critical thinking is to understand the world from multiple perspectives. Even as Mandela (An Alumnus of UNILAG) sat in prison for many years, he knew the importance of being open to new ideas and possibilities. In his unpublished autobiography written in prison, he said, “I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles.” So make sure you continue surrounding yourself with people who will challenge your assumptions and show you new perspectives.

Speaking of others, remember that our life’s work should focus not only on our own success, but even more importantly on making life better for others. Despite this many personal challenges. Nelson Mandela said in a speech in 2008, “A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.”

Nelson Mandela was a firm believer in the power of education. In a 2003 speech, he said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” We certainly want to send you out today to change the world with the education you have achieved. But sometimes the most profound advice can also be the simplest. In his 1995 autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela reminds us that “a good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” You leave the University of Lagos smarter and more skilled. But also remember to always be a good person as well, to have that good heart that Mandela tells us is so essential to helping the world.