By Franklin Onwubiko
The Awka branch of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Alumni Association, in collaboration with the Anambra State Ministry of Youth, recently organized a one-day symposium and Business Expo, focusing on the theme “Alumni and You.” The event, held at the ASUU secretariat, UNIZIK, featured the recognition and award presentation to distinguished alumni and other notable individuals.
Dr. Chinedu Nwankwo, the chapter Chairman, emphasized that this dual event aimed to provide members with a platform to reunite, interact, and strengthen their bonds with influential figures in society, with the common goal of enhancing educational standards through knowledge exchange. He highlighted the importance of Nnamdi Azikiwe University as a cornerstone of knowledge and wisdom, expressing concern about the decline in educational opportunities for the youth due to the high cost of education and inadequate facilities.
Dr. Nwankwo further outlined the chapter’s commitment to contributing to their alma mater’s growth and development, urging members and guests to support ongoing projects.
Professor Charles Esimone, FAS, the University Vice-Chancellor, commended the theme and the recent surge of alumni activities at various levels of the University’s association. He emphasized the importance of addressing youth employment challenges through collaboration with the Ministry of Youths and the University’s Directorate of Business Venture.
During his keynote address, Prof. Emeka Ezeonu, the immediate past National President of the UNIZIK Alumni Association, commended the Chapter for initiating and organizing the Symposium/Business Expo. He recognized the leadership of Dr. Nwankwo, acknowledging the chapter’s continuous commitment to growth and its forward-looking approach.
Represented by ASUU Chairman, UNIZIK, Prof. Kingsley Ubaoji, Prof. Ezeonu highlighted the significance of alumni associations, offering lifetime membership that allows graduates to maintain connections with their peers and their educational alma mater throughout their lives. He emphasized their role as a crucial bridge between the university and its graduates, providing an array of benefits, both professionally and socially, contributing to the overall success of the institution.
Prof. Ezeonu listed ways in which alumni can support the university, including mentoring, providing aid, career support, philanthropy, and endowment. He stressed the importance of an engaging and reciprocal relationship between the university and its alumni, underlining that alumni commitment depends on the university’s treatment. The university, in his view, should treat alumni with respect, appreciation, and a continuous sense of partnership, as positive relationships with alumni can yield numerous benefits for both the university and its former students.
He concluded by outlining effective ways for universities to support their graduates, which encompass career services, networking opportunities, recognition and celebration of alumni achievements, regular communication through various channels, seeking alumni input on university initiatives, providing lifelong learning opportunities, maintaining transparency and accountability, and celebrating milestones and philanthropic engagements.
The event’s highpoint was the presentation of awards to distinguished personalities, including Mr. Chijioke Nwajioha, Dr. Joseph Ugboaja, Engr. Dr. Martin Agbili, Mr. Arnold Ekweoba, Dr. Emeka Ezenekwe, and Dr. Iyke Umeh. Other awardees included Dr. Anselm Onuorah, Hon. Sir Ugochukwu Obiefuna, Hon. Ossy Onuko, Rtn Godwin Aronu, Dr. Uche Ngenegbo, and Mr. Chigozie Eboh (DJ Kay YDJ Kay Y).
The event was graced by two traditional rulers, His Majesty Igwe Engr. S.I Okafor and His Majesty, Igwe Pius Omachuonu, further highlighting the significance of the UNIZIK Alumni Association in the community.