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UNN alumni rally support for alma mater

By Emeka Onwudinjo

The maiden homecoming of the great ‘Lions and Lionesses’ of the Department of Pure and Industrial Chemistry, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) ended with a clarion call to all that had passed through the department to think home and support the department.

Declaring open the conference, which had a large number of past graduates of the department in attendance, the Chairman of the occasion, who is also the Provost, Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze, Anambra State, Prof Josephat Ogbuagu, commended the old students for making their alma mater proud in their chosen careers.

Ogbuagu described Chemistry as the index of industrial development, while highlighting its importance in the understanding and exploitation of nature. He noted that the homecoming provided opportunity for the old students to build stronger network and interface with the department. This, he said, would help the alumni to identify areas of critical need and chart a way forward for the growth of the department and the university.

In a welcome address, the Head of Department, Pure and Industrial Chemistry, Prof. U.C Okoro, said the department was established in October 1960 as Department of Chemistry in the then Faculty of Science. In 1976, a degree in Industrial Chemistry was introduced, while the university Senate approved the change of the name to Pure and Industrial Chemistry with effect from 1984/85 session.

Okoro said in 2001, the department merged the two programmes into a degree in Pure and Industrial Chemistry, while retaining the degree in Combined Physical Sciences. He, however, expressed optimism that the homecoming of the former students would in no doubt, bring respite to the department.

Also speaking, the Chairman of the local organising committee, Prof. P.O Ukoha, said the department has trained thousands of Chemists in the then Faculty of Science since its inception 50 years ago. According to him, the department had its first graduates in 1964 and expressed joy that many of the graduates had built successful careers, not only in the field of Chemistry but also in other areas, both locally and internationally.

The highpoint of the homecoming was the fund raising to support the department and the presentation of awards to some erudite professors. Some of those honoured include: Prof. J.U Oguakwa, Abuchi Isiadinso, Esq, Prof. E.C. Okafor, Prof. G.I.C. Nwokedi, Prof. C.O. Okafor, Prof. S.O. Onyiriuka, Prof. V.C. Agwada, Prof. J.A. Ibemesi, Prof. L.E.S. Akpanisi. Others were Dr. F.I. Nwabue, Dr. P.A. Obuasi, Dr. Martin Nwaji, Prof. G.N, Ngoka and Mr F.I. Ozor.

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