The UTG Should Award Honorary Degrees: A Letter to the Vice Chancellor, University of the Gambia (UTG) written by a young Gambian scholar

The UTG Should Award Honorary Degrees: A Letter to the Vice Chancellor, University of the Gambia (UTG) written by a young Gambian scholar

 I write with a great aplomb and unbreakable string of inexplicable respect, to genuinely disclose a hindsight of foreseeable national plight affecting every facet of your deservedly highly praised University. My reason for writing to you becomes a disillusionment at variance with a sense of detachment on past aspirations towards your predecessors. I reasonably write this letter to define my blustery petrel of nationalism which has defied my anticipation.
Of understandable civility, I do hope that the sting of discomfort on my chin hopes to smart in perpetuity for accepting my “Congratulatory Message” — having assumed the office which serves as the eyes and ears of every erudite and unscholarly Gambian.
As the American writer Paul Beatty, the Manbooker Prize Winner echoes in his best-selling book, The Sellout, which reads: “Human carnage and mistake is always filmed and remembered in the highest definition. The images of the past always burn into our memories and plasma screens of sight to recall.”
Makes the smokes of expression burned the inside of my throat. After a long pause, I finally want to say, « Honor my Chancellor », I plead human. This letter is a citation of interest in your honorable institution of wisdom, I plead service — en masse on an affirmation-action that truncates our country’s name.The Gambia, our country, as you may know, is the smallest of the only countries on planet earth – where tribalism is a constitutional right – and jealousy and hypocrisy a priority first.
My research paper, ‘Seeking Knowledge in Philosophy of Science and Religion’ teaches that: “In a country where knowledgeable people are disrespected – the youth suckle from the breast of ignorance.” If modern law is to be modernized,  and laws made out of parliament are to be revised and revitalized in the coming Twenty-Second Century: The Age of The Anti- Christ — which is not my topic of discussion.  The Gambia, under the first democratically elected government, should be one of the African countries to pass a bill against ( Wolof: Sohorr ak Inyan) ( Mandinka: Hasidia ning Jawyaa).
 Agreeing with me that an honorary degree is an academic degree for which a university (or other degree-awarding institution) has waived the usual requirements, such as matriculation, residence, a dissertation and the passing of comprehensive examinations. The degree is typically a doctorate or, less, commonly a master’s degree, or bachelor’s , and may be awarded to someone who has no prior connection with the academic institution or no previous post-secondary education. The degree is often conferred as a way of honouring a distinguished citizen or a visitor’s contributions to a specific field or to society in general.
For over three hundred years, U.S. colleges and universities have bestowed honorary degrees on people for their lasting impact on society – politicians, musicians, writers, actors, clergymen, corporate CEOs, sports figures, and then some other people. It all began at Harvard University in 1692, when the Ivy League school gave the first honorary degree in the United States was awarded to Puritan Mather, a clergyman. However, honorary degrees had been granted for over 200 years before this (the University of Oxford gave out its first honorary degree in the 1470s). Then, the degree was given mainly to scholars.
 Such diverse individuals as author Elie Weisel, comedian Bill Cosby, and former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson have been awarded honorary degrees.
« The UTG Should Award Honorary Degrees »
My honorable Chancellor, The Yale University as part of its honors programs awarded the famous Senegelase inventor of “Mbalax”,  Prof. Youssou Ndour for his outstanding contribution in the world of music. How about renowned Gambian Jaliba Kuyateh, the King of Kora?  Prof. Dr. Henry Carrol, retired director of the Gambia National Library, Abdou W. Mbaye; Hon. Halifa Sallah, Dr. Langfafa Dampha; former P.S. Baboucarr Boye,  Mr. Momodou Sabally the Gambia’s Pen; Prof. Fodey Baldeh a publisher, critic, grammarian and editor; Prof. Nana Grey-Johnson; Dr. Baba Galleh Jallow, Dr. Baba Sillah, Dr. Tijan Sallah; Michael Hamadi Secka, Dr. Ebrima Sall, Dr. Ebrima Ceesay, etc. It’s even more disparaging to recall how prolific Gambian scholars in the likes of late  Dr. Lenrie Peters, Sheikh  Oustas Bun Jeng, Sheikh Oustas Abdou Gitteh,  Musa Affia Ngoum, Ossulo Njie Senghor, and, Dr. Raphina Philott Almeida, etc, could all be laid to rest to suffer the indignity of unremembered graves. Their history forgotten, and their might extincted amongst fallen knights.
 I am happy to know Dr. Pierre Gomez has been academically and ceremonious conferred a” Prof”, which is loudly commendable and undoubtedly deserving of such an erudite embodiment of scholarship and dissertation in him. I hope his department under your tutelage will put this letter into consideration, and to hereinafter ameliorate the faculty of arts and sciences with similar programmes, despite the existing honors in your university. In one of my new books,  entitled; ‘An Island of Silence’ , I said: “when flowers turned and become fruits,  they always tend to forget that they’re from a plant.” I bet the ferociously intelligent and seasoned Gambian scholars will nurture the young people in our country who merit mentorship, in order to hold the roots of our country’s educational future at equilibrium – thus,  the need for this letter.
Honorary degrees recognize those who have made profound and enduring contributions to scholarship, culture, and improved quality of life in society at large. Achievements of national or international significance deserve priority consideration. It is important that recipients be persons of great integrity, as the choices we make reflect our values as an institution. Hence it is sometimes recommended that such degrees be listed in one’s CV as an award, and not in the education section. With regard to the use of this honorific, the policies of institutions of higher education generally ask that recipients “refrain from adopting the misleading title and that a recipient of an honorary doctorate should restrict the use of the title “Dr” before their name to any engagement with the institution of higher education in question and not within the broader community. Rev.Theodore Hesburgh held the record for most honorary degrees, having been awarded 150 during his lifetime
I would like to recommend to your office the  “Introduction” of The Honorary Degree and Undergraduate Degree awarded in rare and exceptional circumstances.  The purpose of these honor is to recognize individual Gambians who may or may not have been admitted to, or graduated from the University of the Gambia, under exceptional or extraordinary conditions.
 For example in USA, the first recipient of the Honorary Undergraduate Degree was denied admission to the University due to her race, not on the basis of her academic qualifications. It is anticipated that the awardees have distinguished themselves within their community, state or region.
The Types of Honorary Undergraduate Degrees to be Awarded at the UTG may include :
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
Bachelor of Science ( B.SC.)
Titles of Honorary Degrees available for conferral at the UTG may also include:
Doctor of Arts (D.A.) – Design, visual, and performing arts
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) – Service to society (humanitarianism) and scholarship in the humanities (journalism, communication, history, philosophy, language, and literature) and social sciences
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) – Law, public policy, and public service
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) – Science, medicine, engineering, and related fields
In conclusion,  the Bible says in 2 Timothy 4:3: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.”
In the service of creative writing, philosophy and nationalism, I cannot but always remain:
Yours Sincerely,
Modou Lamin Age-Almusaf Sowe,
Author and Scholar

Modou Lamin Age-Almusaf Sowe
Executive Director

Real Name: Modou Lamin Sowe (ML)
Pen name: Modou Lamin Age-Almusaf Sowe
Author and Scholar
Former school-librarian: Masroor Senior Secondary School/ Gambia National Library
Founder of the Young Writers’ Association of The Gambia (YWAG)
Former University Librarian, Director of Academic Research and Teaching Assistant at African Development University ( A.D.U. )
Contact:  (WhatsApp+2207791631 ) 
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