Africa University launch events rescheduled for February in North Charleston

NORTH CHARLESTON—South Carolina will host a series of events of the Africa University Board and Advisory Development Committees this winter.

The AU events will be held Feb. 22-25, 2018, at the North Charleston Convention Center, said James H. Salley, associate vice chancellor for institutional advancement for
Africa University.

It will be the first time in its more than 25-year journey with South Carolina United Methodists that Africa University leaders and advisers will meet in this state. Originally, the AU events had been scheduled for Sept. 8-10, but the threat of Hurricane Irma and subsequent evacuation prompted the event to be rescheduled. AU leaders made their decision in consideration of the safety of persons traveling to and from the area in the coming days.

Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church, will be the host for events of the AU Board and Advisory Development Committees in North Charleston, with support from Charleston District Superintendent Sandra Stevens-Poirel and Walterboro District Superintendent Thomas Pearson.

The choice of North Charleston for these events cements Africa University’s special relationship with the South Carolina Conference.

“South Carolina United Methodists share a special history and a unique relationship with Africa University,” Holston said. “Almost since its inception as a United Methodist-related institution, South Carolinians have been at the forefront of helping students from many African nations obtain a quality education and develop into the leaders that will offer guidance to the world.

“We are honored to welcome to South Carolina the leadership of this fine institution that has brought so much hope to so many.”

The first major “launch” gift to Africa University was made in 1991 by Jonas and Odette Kennedy, farmers from Bennettsville. Subsequent gifts from churches and individuals paid for construction of the Bishop J. Lawrence McCleskey Theology Building—named for the former South Carolina bishop—and endowed scholarships that allow more than a dozen young women and men to access a life-changing educational experience each year.

The upcoming events celebrate the impact of the South Carolina Conference’s ongoing investment in Africa University.

Four people—including Holston and his wife, Felecia—will be recognized with the Drum Award, Africa University’s highest honor for development/advancement contributions. Members of the Africa University Board of Directors, senior executives, long-standing university friends and supporters will travel to North Charleston from sub-Saharan Africa and from across the United States for the development committee meetings and three major events that are scheduled.

The events include a formal launch event for the $50 million Campaign for Africa University; the Richard E. “Dick” Reeves Legacy Society Dinner, at which persons who have made planned gifts or bequests are inducted and recognized; and a Saturation Event involving 19 churches in the Charleston and Walterboro districts who will host Africa University guest preachers, speakers and Sunday school presenters during worship services.

Scheduled to attend the events are Dr. Munashe Furusa, vice chancellor/chief executive officer of Africa University and other university administrators and members of the Board of Directors from Africa; Bishop Marcus Matthews, chairperson of the Africa University Board of Directors; and Bishop Julius Trimble, chairperson of the Africa University Advisory Development Committee and the Africa University Board Development Committee.

Many of the university’s friends and partners from South Carolina and neighboring states in the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the UMC will join the trustees, administrators and alumni of Africa University in North Charleston.

Two South Carolinians serve in the leadership of Africa University: Salley, of Orangeburg, as well as Elaine Jenkins, of John’s Island, who is the director of planned giving.

AU opened in 1992 with 40 students from six African countries. It now has an annual full-time enrollment of 1,400 students representing as many as 29 of Africa’s 55 nations. Degree programs and short courses are offered in three colleges: Health, Agriculture and Natural Sciences; Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance; and Social Sciences, Theology, Humanities and Education. More than 90 percent of Africa University’s 8,000 alumni have remained on the continent of Africa. Graduates are at work and in leadership roles in more than 32 African countries as well as in countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and North America. The university’s main campus is located near Mutare, in the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe.

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