I never heard of Professor Ernest Aryeetey until my final year in Senior High School. Ask me how, I was informed that he was the brain behind a meal plan to be implemented at the University at that time. I vividly recall how many of us chided this learned man who had passed our level several years ago. We felt this policy of his was not a step in the right direction because a lot of us could not hold our breath to enter the University where many have said ‘freedom’ exits. Going for ‘dining’ was therefore a no go area.
When I gained admission to the University of Ghana, the story was utterly not different. What sort of news did I not hear about the man popularly known in students’ circles as Aryeetey? But when I met Prof. Aryeetey for the first time in our studio at Radio Univers, it was a sudden consternation that I had judged a book by its cover. In fact, I realized he was one fine man who has eyes for development, progress and results.
During his Vice Chancellorship, it is no doubt that his policies and reforms stood the test of time. Infrastructure improved, human resource was equipped, academic excellence was promoted through enhanced teaching, learning and leadership training. Worth mentioning is the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings where the University of Ghana ranked 7th in Africa, making it the highest ranked university in the West African sub-region. The achievements are countless and the list will definately go on and on. Although some initiatives he decided to embark on were also opposed; I believe it was all good for the progress of his administration. Some work certainly needs to be done but we all know that if time was on his side he would have the opportunity to make all things possible. Prof. I humbly doff my fedora.
Hopefully, I would be graduating in 2018 but, graduating that year appears to be inauspicious. I have shook hands with Professor Aryeetey many times, but missing that very special one I would receive from him on my graduation day hurts me more. Not receiving a standing ovation from an illustrious son of his calibre if I fortunately obtain a first class honours is also just an intolerable agony.
Professor Ernest Aryeetey, as you bow out and bid UG farewell, I congratulate you for your untiring efforts in transforming the university to this enviable position. Ayeekoo! I also wish you well in all your endeavours as you take up your new appointments. Indeed, your hard work and dedication will be missed. I hope your retirement brings you good health, good luck and great success. I wish you and your family all the best as you enter a new phase of life while you enjoy the extra time that you will be spending with them.
If anyone ever finds me in academia one day, then it is as a result of the ideological inspiration of no other person but Professor Ernest Aryeetey, a professor of Economics and one time Vice Chancellor of the nation’s hope and glory; the University of Ghana, Legon.
The writer is a Broadcast Journalist at Radio Univers 105.7Mhz situated on the University of Ghana campus, Legon. He has interest in issues of education, health and young people.
Photo Credit: Radio Univers 105.7fm