The Board of Trustees of the University of Liberia (UL) has unanimously elected Sinoe County Electoral District #3 Representative Matthew Gee Zarzar as the new Chair of the University's Board of Trustees.
The UL Board of Trustees elected Representative Zarzar as its chair during the Board's regular meeting held on Wednesday, August 28, 2019.
Representative Zarzar, who has already been inducted, replaces the late Dr. Dominic N. Tarpeh, former Chair of the Board who died in December 2018.
Before Representative Zarzar's election as Chair of the Board of Trustees, he served as Vice-Chair, and since January 2019, as Acting Chair of the Board of Trustees.
He was elected along with other members of the Board of Trustees including Madam Mary Laurene Browne, Vice-Chair; Trustee Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, Secretary, and Trustee Francis "Chuchu" Horton, Treasurer.
The President of the University of Liberia Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks has hailed Representative Zarzar's election as Chair of the University's Board of Trustees, saying he has been a firm supporter of the University.
"He's been a very strong supporter of the University and advocates for the University," Dr. Weeks said.
She described Representative Zarzar as a person with a wealth of knowledge, having worked with the Ministries of Finance, Planning, and Education.
"He has worked for many years in education, and he understands the sector. He has worked for many years in planning, he understands that sector. He has worked for many years in finance as well. These are all crucial areas for any developing organization and most especially the flagship institution of higher learning in Liberia," Dr. Weeks said.
Representative Zarzar is a member of the Joint Committee on Ways, Means and Finance of the Legislature, so his election as UL's new Chair of the Board of Trustees puts him in a suitable position to further advance his support and advocacy for the University.
The UL President indicated that she looks forward to a very dynamic and strong Board of Trustees to which she has to answer to, under Representative Zarzar's leadership.
While affirming her willingness to answer to the Board of Trustees, Dr. Weeks also expresses hope that the Board will listen to her as an administrator and Chief Executive Officer of the University.
Dr. Weeks is concerned that UL is far behind in terms of infrastructure, programs, salaries, the profile of instructors and a lot more needed to get the University on par with other Universities in the West African region.
Despite the challenges, Dr. Weeks is hoping that there will be the recognition that UL produces the majority of the workforce, the human resource of Liberia.
"And for the best possible people to come out of our doors, we need to have the best possible education available for our students. That means providing needed support, which requires resources; it requires having the appropriate instructors, the appropriate programs that are relevant to the 21st century," she added.
Dr. Weeks is ambitious to seeing UL ranked among the top 20 universities in West Africa, but emphasized that the University needs financial and moral support which will not come from government alone, but also from university-generated revenue and from Alumni within and outside Liberia.
She is ambitious that in seven years, UL will be ranked among the top 20 universities in West Africa.
For his part, Representative Zarzar assures that the UL Board of Trustees should count on his expertise, as creativity is needed for the University to achieve its goals.
He indicated that if there is a problem at the University, dialogue will be critical in dealing with it.
Representative Zarzar also called on students at the University of Liberia to seek dialogue and follow the law whenever they have a problem, as throwing stones will not solve problems.