PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday capped 190 graduates in various disciplines at the fourth Lupane State University (LSU) graduation ceremony held at the institution’s main campus in the Matabeleland North capital.
LSU acting vice-chancellor Maclean Bhala said out of the 190 graduates, 42% were female.
Bhala said 2013 had seen phenomenal improvement at the university’s site notwithstanding new and old challenges.
“Besides the clear academic mandate that our university has to fulfil, hundreds of man hours were spent pursuing the infrastructural development of our site with a view to expedite the relocation from Bulawayo,” Bhala said.
“You will recall, Your Excellency, that we had it in our strategic plan to relocate to site by end of 2014, all things being equal, but as you can see from the ground so far covered, we still have some mileage to cover before the fulfilment of that dream.”
Bhala paid tribute to the Higher and Tertiary Education ministry for its financial and material support that has seen the leap of construction of the agricultural block to 98%.
“By this time last year the construction of our student’s block was nothing to write home about, but as we stand here today, we can pronounce upwards of 60% of completion of that block.
“With the official opening of the agricultural block today, we foresee an even bigger drive to expedite the completion of our student block and indeed an even faster rate in the construction of our staff houses and flatlets,” Bhala said.
He said the institution still faced a challenge in resource mobilisation.
Bhala said LSU had approached Zimbabweans in South Africa to sponsor a fundraising event in Johannesburg and to engage them in a private public partnerships for the development of the institution.
He said the local banking fraternity supported LSU efforts and the institution held a fund.
There are also two significant enterprises that have pursued dialogue with LSU with the intention of getting into joint ventures for the construction of staff houses, the library, administrative block and students hostels.
Bhala said the organisations had already sent their representatives to the university site as discussions continued.
He said they had also identified a piece of land within its campus for livestock feeding and pan feeding to be conducted by the Agricultural Science faculty in fulfilling the Zim Asset food and nutrition cluster.
The institution presented Mugabe with a bull.