The inauguration of Dr. Conteh was performed by the President of the University of Liberia Board of Trustees, Dr. Theresa Leigh-Sherman, in line with the UL Charter and Constitution, thus making him the 12th president of the nation's highest institution of learning.
Present during the occasion were members of the UL family including the faculty, staffers, students, the UL choir, the alumni association, UL faculty senate and council, heads of the various departments and deans and directors of the five undergraduate colleges, graduate schools and professional schools.
Special guests included Cabinet members, members of diplomatic corps, heads of foreign mission accredited to the country, heads of international agencies, NGOs, UN agencies, UNMIL, heads of institutions of higher learning, the Judicial members of the Assembly as well as the business community.
The visitor to the University and Chairman of the National Transitional Government (NTGL) Charles Gyude Bryant also attended the occasion, while the UL Choir and the Armed Forces of Liberia marching band rendered several selections.
During the induction ceremony, the secretary of the
UL Trustees, Mr. Samuel W. Thompson, welcomed the
visitor and all assembled to the University of Liberia.
Following his remarks, the President of the Board of Trustees stood up and declared: "By the powers vested in me as President of the Board of Trustees of the University of Liberia, I hereby duly constitute his convocation for the purpose of inducting the President of the University of Liberia into office."
The Secretary of the Board of Trustees then escorted Dr. Conteh to the President of the Trustees, Dr. Sherman, who administered the oath of office: “…Will you maintain and uphold the privileges, rights, and dignity of the University?” In response Dr. Conteh declared, "I, Al-Hassan Conteh, hereby declare that I will duly fulfill the office of the President of the University of Liberia; that I will faithfully execute all duties entrusted to the office in accordance with the Charter, the constitution and Bye-laws and the Rules and Regulations of the University; and I will endeavor all times, to maintain and uphold the privileges, rights and dignity of the University."
Prior to Dr. Conteh, distinguished academicians who served as President include, Dr. J. Max Bond, Dr. Kermit C. King, Dr. Rocheforte L. Weeks, Dr. Adventus A. Hoff, Dr. J. Bernard Blamo, Dr. Mary Antoinette Brown-Sherman, Dr. Joseph G. Morris, Dr. Stephen M. Yekeson, Dr. Patrick L.N. Seyon, Dr. Frederick S. Gbeegbe, and Dr. Ben Augustus Roberts – while Dr. James Kollie served as the only acting president in the history of the University.
In his inaugural address, the newly installed President, Dr. Conteh, extended an olive branch to the University family, saying that the months of bickering and confusion have no winner or loser. And the top on his list of priorities is how to make the University relevant to the transitional period and how to enhance the learning environment at the University.
He promised his administration’s full support in working with the UL Board of Trustees, Faculty Council and Senate, the UL Faculty Association, the Liberian Government as well as the donor organizations and the international community.
He added that a national conference on the future of the University will take place between March 10 -11, 2005, in Pennsylvania, United States of America, where US$25 million is anticipated to be raised for the University.
In addition, Dr. Conteh said, he would work tirelessly to ensure that the University take the lead in providing quality education to the people of Liberia and the sub region, while at the same time he would put in place a new framework for new academic programs for the five undergraduate colleges and the three professional schools.
Commenting on the faculty welfare, Dr. Conteh said his administration will provide adequate and conducive facilities for the smooth running of the University and will settle the salary arrears for staff and faculty members, while at the same time promised a comprehensive health insurance benefits.
Additionally, he also promised to set up a center for conflict studies at the University and to put into place a feasible and sustainable transportation system for the University family. The repatriation of competence staff members through the assistance of UNDP and International Organization for Migration (IOM) is also a priority.
He lauded the out-going acting president, Dr. Kollie for keeping the doors of the University open, while using the occasion to appeal to the Visitor for adequate support to the University.