The vice president for academic affairs at the University of Liberia (UL) William E. Allen says the administration is to launch Liberia's first "Time Capsule" on December 31 this year.
A time capsule is a sealed container with collection of documents which is opened after a specified number of years. It conveys particular memories to future generations.
Dr. Allen made the remarks at a news conference on Friday, October 11, 2019, at the UL Capitol Hill campus in central Monrovia. He said the "Time Capsule" will store documents and artefacts in a container and will be opened during the bicentennial of the UL.
He said the university will also decide to include the souvenir program of this year's graduation or Dr. Ophelia I. Week's inaugural address and list of political parties.
Dr. Allen said the Time Capsule is part of a yearlong celebration of the centennial commencement by the UL administration and students as well as partners.
He said since 1861 to 2019, the university has had 100 graduations, and the administration has decided to memorialize the Centennial through the launch of several projects, including the Time Capsule.
"The Time Capsule will be unsealed during the bicentennial commencement which is the year of the 200th graduation. That could be 2118, 2119 or even much later depending on whether commencements are held every year for the next 100 years or if UL skips graduations as it did in 2014 due to the Ebola virus outbreak," Dr. Allen said.
He said the administration will ask the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) and may decide to include the Pro-poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity (PAPD) in the Time Capsule.
He further said Liberia College did not have graduation for 28 years due to many factors, including lack of finance and low enrollment, adding: "If we have graduation regularly, we are hoping that the Time Capsule will be opened in 2119."
According to Dr. Allen, there have been two suggestions for the burial of the Time Capsule, including the main Capitol Hill and the Fendell campuses.
"Again, the government will issue a proclamation about the Time Capsule so that people can be aware of. We will do more media publications to inform people that the Time Capsule does not have money in it or gold so that people will not have the intention to vandalize the place it would be buried," Dr. Allen said.
He said there is no evidence of a Time Capsule in Liberia, be it private, national, regional or institutional, meaning: "Anyone can store a Time Capsule, and the contents can be placed in a simple container like a shoebox or in a small canister and tucked away for several years."
A Time Capsule can be buried underground or above ground. This means that the university will reveal where the Time Capsule will be buried.
Dr. Allen said the device and its contents must remain completely dried so that the vault or chamber will be airtight. This requirement is a challenge, given Liberia's humid environment.
"The College of Engineering and Science are handling the technical details, and will formally recommend where and how to store the device," he said.