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Fare thee well, Prof. Douglas Odhiambo

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Prof. Douglas Odhiambo now rests pretty with his ancestors in Mariwa, Migori County. He was buried on Friday June 29, 2018. The first Vice-Chancellor of Moi University was a true definition of devotion to his professional calling in the academic circles in Kenya and beyond. Tributes that were poured in honour of the departed academic icon were a testimony of the finesse with which he accomplished his missions.

Moi University Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Isaac Kosgey, described Prof. Odhiambo as a man who was dedicated to his work, having laid the foundation stone of Moi University in 1984.

2“Prof. Odhiambo became head of a virtually non-existent Institution as it did not have a single student, staff or structures. He took 83 students from the University of Nairobi’s Department of Forestry, put them on a bus and drove down to Eldoret and pitched three tents on the lawns of Kaptagat Hotel on the outskirts of the town. This is how he started Moi University,” said Prof. Kosgey, in his tribute read on his behalf by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academics, Research and Extension, Prof. Isaac Kimengi, at the requiem mass at St. Stephens Cathedral in Kisumu on Thursday June 28, 2018.

Prof. Kosgey acknowledged projects Prof. Odhiambo initiated at Moi University that to-date stand out to define Kenya’s second public University.

“From Kaptagat, Moi University moved to Kesses to sit on 3,000 acres of land. In Kesses, Prof. Odhiambo superintended over colossal infrastructural projects including construction of Mackay Building and Ngeria Hostels, Technology Building, Moi University Primary School, Administration and Senate Building, Cheptiret-Kesses-Moi University Road, Staff Houses, Graduation Pavilion and playground. He also initiated commercial horticulture and diary projects for the University,” said Prof. Kosgey.

Former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, in his tribute, said Prof. Odhiambo belonged in the category of the now increasingly outnumbered lot of scholars who believe their role in society is to generate and disseminate knowledge until they breath their last.

“What was unique about Prof. Odhiambo, however, was his disarming humility and sense of social and political justice. In his death, Kenya lost an exceptionally brilliant academic who had much to brag about but chose a humble, behind-the-scenes life from where he argued for more support for, and less interference with, our public universities,” said Mr. Odinga.

Mr. Odinga noted that it is perhaps as a result of these qualities and his deep knowledge of the education system in East Africa, that Prof. Odhiambo subsequently played such a big role in shaping education policy in Kenya and husbanding young universities during the Moi years and after.

“I have lost a friend, as has the academia and science community in particular. Yet his legacy and impact as a role model will last. It is my hope that Kenya will provide an appropriate epitaph, as well as an institution in his memory, that will remind future generations of the contribution of this academic giant to the development of our nation after independence,” added Mr. Odinga.

Indeed, in the death of Prof. Odhiambo, the baobab tree has fallen.

Fare thee well, Professor.

 

In Pictures:

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Odhiambo Funeral 2 Odhiambo Funeral 13
   

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