‘Paying it Forward’: Cuttington University Alumni in US Raise US$60K for Key Projects
Monrovia – The Cuttington University Alumni Association in the America’s held its annual reunion at the weekend in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis, Minnesota, raising approximately US$60,000 for the University to whom, many in attendance at the St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church, many owe their higher learning.
This year’s fundraiser surpassed the organization’s target of raising US$15,000 for key projects being undertaken in Liberia.
Mrs. Glendy Junius Reeves, CUAAA’s Prexy says a number of major challenges in the past year posed setbacks on three key projects undertaken in the past year, including a facelift to renovate the Health clinic on the campus in Suakoko, Bong County, the computerization of registration process and the establishment of the CUC Endowment Fund with both the Alumni Association in Liberia and the Alumni Association in the U.S.
“We have been unable to complete many of the listed recommendations because 2018 was plagued with some challenges, which included a riot on the campus by students, and fire engulfing a part of the Freshman Female Dormitory, Rally Hall.”
Despite those challenges, Reeves says CUAA has continued to forge ahead in its fundraising efforts for the university.
In April 2019, the organization hosted an annual JCS Academic Awards Achievement Dinner raising approximately US$20,000 with proceeds going toward the renovation of Rally Hall. In addition, CUAAA executives approved US$2,500 to the university to renovate a portion of the dormitory and is currently working on plans to assist with the renovation of the entire dormitory.
Mr. Binyah Kesselly, this year’s keynote speaker stressed the importance of giving back and paying it forward. “Giving back, when done selflessly, is a force multiplier for good, that has an infectious impact on all those involved; whether on the fringes or in the trenches…it matters not. You give because it’s the right thing to do, and because you expect nothing personal in return. No benefits that accrue, no recognition, no tangible rewards that are sent your way. Sometimes, not even a thank you. Satisfaction comes from knowing that you’ve fundamentally changed someone’s life for the better.”
During the business session Saturday, the organization resolved to establish a $US1M Endowment, to ensure future solvency and sustainability; contribute to the development of a long-term strategic plan to ensure appropriate growth and development of Cuttington; and establish an operating model to ensure a voice in the future of our alma mater.
Mr. Kesselly said the task was simple. Fund-raise to build the new Agape Clinic. Thus, all proceeds from tonight‘s vigorous campaign (other external fund-raising exercises) will go to the construction of a brand-new, state of the art facility. “The intent though is that this new clinic, in addition to providing care to our students, faculty and staff, will also provide primary care to the surrounding communities (on a yet to be determined schedule), thus doing our part to ensure the implementation of SDG #3 – Good Health and Well-being.”
Mr. Kesselly said road ahead will no doubt be difficult, but it is important to stay the course. “The frustrations will be real, but we must stay the course; the arguments will persist, but we must stay the course; mini-failures shall occur, but we must stay the course; disappointments, setbacks, disenchantments, second-guessing, will be the mainstay, but we must stay the course. WE must take charge; WE must change the paradigm; WE must shift our thinking; WE must get involved; WE must give back. For in the end, when we collectively do these things, we intentionally perpetuate the circle of life, paying it forward, thus ensuring that we all win.”
The weekend’s highlight was the annual Queen contest feature queens from the three social clubs at the university – Mason, Nader and Freeman.
Mason, represented by Ms. Bridgette Nah-Nimene, raked in the highest total of US$21,800.80; Nader, represented by Ernestine Sienneh Jones, raised $19,261.00 while Freeman Social Club represented by Ms. Princess Miller raised US$4,557.000, capping the weekend total raised for the university at US$46, 123.00.
“The frustrations will be real, but we must stay the course; the arguments will persist, but we must stay the course; mini-failures shall occur, but we must stay the course; disappointments, setbacks, disenchantments, second-guessing, will be the mainstay, but we must stay the course. WE must take charge; WE must change the paradigm; WE must shift our thinking; WE must get involved; WE must give back. For in the end, when we collectively do these things, we intentionally perpetuate the circle of life, paying it forward, thus ensuring that we all win.”– Mr. Binyah Kesselly, Guest Speaker
Dr. Herman Browne, University President, in a message to the Alumni says the institution remains grateful to the organization for always being there. “As far back as the last week in July you shared with me your rough plans to assist CU with its clinic, computerization of the registration process, sporting facilities, and an endowment. We remain most pleased that CUAAA continues to hold out your hands of encouragement and support for our administration, and our noble alma mater. From our end, we are conscious of the limit on your resources, and the need to prioritize carefully for maximum effect in the shortest possible time. We would appreciate your assistance with the following – Rally Hall renovation, the Agape Clinic facelift, Sporting facility renovation and the establishing an endowment.
Cuttington University is the oldest private, coeducational, four-year, degree-granting institution in sub-Saharan Africa, has educated generations of leaders for the nation of Liberia and West Africa. Its roots lie deep within the history of the nation, the relationship between Liberia and the United States, and the Episcopal Church.
Mr. Hermann Blumenthal, Chairman of Region 4, host of this year’s events in the Twin cities said this weekend was all about raising funds for Cuttington. “We started planning 19 months ago. The funds for this year’s reunion will be used to build the Agape Clinic.”