Accra Mail (Accra)

11 April 2007

Ghana at 50, Kwapong at 80

opinion

Accra — Last weekend, I had the privilege of being a guest at Professor Kwapong's 80th birthday gathering; a great honour.

I grew up associating the title Vice Chancellor with the name Alex Kwapong. As a former student of the KNUST (when I was there it was UST), I had my own fine Vice Chancellors, first, Dr. Evans-Anfom and later the late Prof. Bamfo-Kwakye, Alex Kwapong still featured very high in my reverence for learned people.

I did not know him, but his stature in academia was such that you were either a philistine or just simply lazy if you did not know of that name.

I never had the chance to study Latin; we were the generation that started shedding European classical education (A pity? A shame? A mistake?) , but I was so much in awe of Professor Kwapong because it was said of him that he could hold a conversation in Latin! A formidable mind that remains active to this day. I have read Lee Kwan Yew's autobiography and his mention of Prof.

I got to know Prof much later in my adult years and I think it was better that way because I was then mature enough to appreciate better the privilege of being held in some regard by Professor Alex Kwapong

When a microphone was thrust at me to say "a few words" at the gathering, what else could I say but, "Ghana at 50, Kwapong at 80, we thank you Prof".

Yes, Prof, we thank you very much We wish you a long and healthy life We also pray that our educational system would eventually rise up to match the golden days of Ghanaian education when people like you insisted on nothing but excellence

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