A Tribute to the late Prof. George Magoha – Former President, Association of African Universities (AAU)

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A Tribute to the late Prof. George Magoha – Former President, Association of African Universities (AAU)

The Secretary-General of the Association of African Universities (AAU), on behalf of the Governing Board and all African Universities, express the AAU’s deepest condolences to the family and friends – near and far – of the late Prof. George Albert Omore Magoha, who sadly passed on, on 24 January 2023.

Prof. Magoha served the Association of African Universities in various leadership positions, spanning more than a decade, with extraordinary commitment and dedication to duty, in a manner which earned him the respect of many higher education stakeholders across the continent. His words as captured in the AAU’s 50th Anniversary Brochure (produced in 2017), demonstrates his interconnectedness and the long-standing relationship with the Association’s leadership – ‘I have been a member of the AAU Governing Board from early 2005 to date [2017] having been elected at the Cape Town meeting. During these twelve and half years, I also served the AAU as the first Vice President in 2009-2010, and as President in 2011-2013. The AAU has made tremendous transformative progress with prolonged stability during this period. I congratulate the President, Secretary General, Executive Board and the entire AAU fraternity on the occasion of the AAU’s 50th Anniversary.’

Long before assuming leadership positions at the AAU, Prof. Magoha was not a new face to the Association – ‘I am a beneficiary of the Inter-African Universities Program (INTERAF) which began in 1967 and was managed by the Association of African Universities. I received a scholarship that enabled me enroll with the College of Medicine at the University of Lagos Nigeria from 1973 to 1978. The impact of this investment has been unquestionable – I am a full professor of Urological and Transplant Surgery, was Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi for 10 years and took up several distinguished leadership positions in many institutions’ – said Prof. Magoha in a document which profiled beneficiaries of the AAU’s previous initiatives.

The Association of African Universities wishes to place on record, our deep appreciation to Prof. George Magoha for his tenacity and resourcefulness in serving Africa’s higher education sector and for his great contribution to advancing education excellence in the continent and beyond. As a seasoned educator, he inspired and touched the lives of many students in profound ways, contributing to the shaping of a young generation that will honour his legacy and continue to lead the agenda of driving Africa to its next development phase.

The higher education sector in Africa is indeed filled with deep sadness and will miss his warmth and camaraderie, the frank and robust exchanges and discussions with him at various platforms where key decisions setting the agenda and targets of higher education in Africa were taken.

Through his good leadership and key results achieved on various fronts, Prof. Magoha leaves us with fond memories and meaningful learning from his unswerving sense of duty – that hard work and professionalism are great qualities worthy of emulation.

Prof. Magoha will forever be celebrated for playing a key role in transforming the African higher education sector and for being a mentor to many people, impacting and inspiring generations to build an even stronger African higher education system.

The Association of African Universities sends out its heartfelt condolences to the immediate family of Prof. George Albert Omore Magoha, the President and People of the Republic of Kenya, as well as the entire African Higher Education fraternity.


More About Prof. George Magoha

Prof. George Magoha was a Professor of Surgery at Maseno University School of Medicine in Kisumu County in Western Kenya at the time of his demise. He also served as the Cabinet Secretary of Education in the Cabinet of Kenya under the President, H.E Uhuru Kenyatta’s second term from 2019. Prior to that, he was appointed the Chairman of the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) from 2016 until 2019. His task as the Chairman of KNEC was to reform the council to arrest the widespread academic dishonesty and corruption in the administration of national examinations. He is credited with dismantling cartels that had propagated exam cheating for years and restoring the credibility of exams in Kenya.

Prof. Magoha’s passion and dedication to academia and the development of the African higher education sector spurred him to rise through the ranks from being in administrative positions at the University of Nairobi, Kenya to becoming chairman of the Academic Department of Surgery in 1999, Dean of the School of Medicine, Principal of the College of Health Sciences, Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Administration and Finance to finally being the Vice-Chancellor in January 2005 after a competitive recruitment process. He was also a Professor of Surgery at the University of Nairobi’s College of Health Sciences, and concurrently served as a consultant urologist at the Kenyatta National Hospital, the university’s teaching hospital.

Prof. Magoha was the author of the book – Tower of Transformational Leadership, published by Kenway Publications in 2017. It is an autobiographical account of his experience as a leader in various roles in medicine, surgery, academia, and the community. As of May 2017, he was the chairman of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board.

He leaves behind his wife – Dr. Barbra Magoha, a Nigerian, and his son, Michael Magoha who are both medical doctors.

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