The Regional Maritime University (RMU) on Saturday conferred Honorary Doctorate on former President, John Agyekum Kufuor and President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio.
The Honorary Doctor of Letters, Honoris Causa, was presented to former President Kufuor during the 13th Congregation of the RMU, in recognition of his exemplary leadership and elevating the then Regional Maritime Academy (RMA) into a university status in 2007.
His citation read, "You have distinguished yourself as an astute politician, legislator, statesman and a football enthusiast and administrator who dedicated your entire life to the development of the people of the Republic of Ghana since the Second Republic through to the Third Republic and as the second president under the Fourth Republic of Ghana, till present."
It continued, "During your leadership, you strengthened and gave impetus to the tenets of democracy, the rule of law, social justice, social and economic government and equal opportunity for all Ghanaians to realise their God-given talents."
The citation further read, "The Academic Council of the RMU, in deciding on this award noted that throughout your life you have made several contributions to humanity. The Council specifically recognises the bold initiative by your government in elevating the then RMA into a university status in October 25, 2007. The Council also took note of the admission of the RMU by your government onto the list of beneficiaries of the Ghana Education Trust Fund which subsequently funded a 400-room capacity hostel for the university."
On his part, President, Maada Bio received the Honorary Degree in recognition of the country's commitment as one of the five founding member states to the growth and progress of the RMU since the signing of the Headquarters Agreement in 1983.
Former Rector of the RMU, Capt Aaron Obeng Turkson, was also awarded the Degree of Honorary Doctor of Maritime Affairs, Honoris Causa for his dedication to the RMU as a lecturer and by dint of hard work, rising through the ranks to the high office of Rector in 2000.
In his acceptance speech, Ex-President Kufuor, commended the RMU for their efforts over the years to become the premier university as far as maritime studies is concerned.
"The work of the university is unique and glad that the RMU has matured over the years to assist the country in providing the needed workforce for the maritime industry," he stated.
The former President added that, as the country continues to discover oil and other minerals, personnel would be needed to make use of the discoveries for the benefit of the economy.
He urged the university to strategically link with industry to ensure that students were exposed to practical work before completing their courses at RMU.
Speaking on behalf of President Nana Akufo Addo, Minister of Transport, Kwaku Asiamah, congratulated the awardees and the RMU for honouring the distinguished individuals.
He commended former President Kufuor for raising RMU to the current status and making it an icon in maritime education.
"Government would collaborate with the RMU to triple their intake in order to train personnel to boost the maritime industry," Mr Asiamah noted.
Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof Elvis Nyarko, urged the graduating students to apply the knowledge and skills they acquired over the years to build the nation.
"Use the practical aspects of your education to improve upon the standards at your various workplaces in order to stand out in the competitive world," he stated.
In all, a total of 396 students graduated with bachelor's degrees and diploma in various fields including 329 bachelors and 67 diplomas.