For the first time in its 25+-year journey with South Carolina United Methodists, Africa University leaders and advisors will meet in North Charleston from Sept. 7 to 10.
Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, will be the host for events of the Africa University Board and Advisory Development Committees in North Charleston, with support from Charleston District Superintendent Sandra Stevens-Poirel and Walterboro District Superintendent Thomas Pearson.
The choice of North Charleston for these events cements Africa University’s special relationship with the South Carolina Conference.
“South Carolina United Methodists share a special history and a unique relationship with Africa University,” Bishop Holston said. “Almost since its inception as a United Methodist-related institution, South Carolinians have been at the forefront of helping students from many African nations obtain a quality education and develop into the leaders that will offer guidance to the world.
“We are honored to welcome to South Carolina the leadership of this fine institution that has brought so much hope to so many.”
The first major “launch” gift to Africa University was made in 1991 by Jonas and Odette Kennedy, farmers from Bennettsville. Subsequent gifts from churches and individuals paid for construction of the Bishop J. Lawrence McCleskey Theology Building – named for the former S.C. bishop – and endowed scholarships that allow more than a dozen young women and men to access a life-changing educational experience each year.
The upcoming events celebrate the impact of the South Carolina Conference’s ongoing investment in Africa University.
Four people – including Bishop Holston and Mrs. Felecia Holston – will be recognized with the Drum Award, Africa University’s highest honor for development/advancement contributions, during the September events in North Charleston.
Members of the Africa University Board of Directors, senior executives, long-standing university friends and supporters will travel to North Charleston from sub-Saharan Africa and from across the United States for the development committee meetings and three major events that are scheduled Sept. 7-10 at the North Charleston Convention Center:
- Sept. 8 – Formal launch event for the $50 million Campaign for Africa University.
- Sept. 9 – Richard E. “Dick” Reeves Legacy Society Dinner, at which persons who have made planned gifts or bequests are inducted and recognized.
- Sept. 10 – Saturation Event involving 19 churches in the Charleston and Walterboro districts who will host Africa University guest preachers, speakers, and Sunday School presenters during worship services on Sept. 10.
Scheduled to attend the events are Dr. Munashe Furusa, vice chancellor/CEO of Africa University and other university administrators and members of the Board of Directors from Africa; Bishop Marcus Matthews, chairperson of the Africa University Board of Directors; and Bishop Julius Trimble, chairperson of the Africa University Advisory Development Committee and the Africa University Board Development Committee.
Many of the university’s friends and partners from South Carolina and neighboring states in the Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church will join the trustees, administrators and alumni of Africa University in North Charleston.
Two distinguished alumni of the university serve as advisors – Dr. Israel Kamudzandu of Zimbabwe and Dr. Artemus Gaye of Liberia. Two South Carolinians serve in the leadership of Africa University – James H. Salley of Orangeburg is the associate vice chancellor for institutional advancement and Elaine Jenkins of John’s Island is the director of planned giving.
About Africa University
- The pan-African higher education ministry of The United Methodist Church is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The university opened in 1992 with 40 students from six African countries. It now has an annual full-time enrollment of 1,400 students representing as many as 29 of Africa’s 55 nations.
- Degree programs and short courses are offered in three colleges: Health, Agriculture & Natural Sciences; Business, Peace, Leadership & Governance; and Social Sciences, Theology, Humanities and Education.
- More than 90 percent of Africa University’s 8,000 alumni have remained on the continent of Africa. Graduates are at work and in leadership roles in more than 32 African countries as well as in countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and North America.
- The university’s main campus is located near Mutare, in the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe.
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