Riara University Graduand Surprised With Lucrative Job Offer at Graduation Ceremony

  • Riara University Chancellor Dr Wilfred Kiboro presents a conferment and excellence award to Aisha Mbarak, Class of 2022 overall top student graduating with First Class Honours in Bachelor of Communication and Multimedia Journalism at the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022.
    Riara University Chancellor Dr Wilfred Kiboro presents a conferment and excellence award to Aisha Mbarak, Class of 2022 overall top student graduating with First Class Honours in Bachelor of Communication and Multimedia Journalism at the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022.
    Riara University
  • You ought to have seen the smile on Aisha Mbarak’s face. I guess I saw her slightly tilt her graduation cap, sitting on top of her pink hijab. 

    She turned to face her Riara University Class of 2022 classmates with a smile flickering across her face like a hologram. In her mind, I bet she was screaming ‘Is that me?’

    The Chancellor Dr Wilfred Kiboro had just offered her a job at Nation Media Group which runs the Daily Nation newspaper, NTV and Nation FM

    “And for Aisha Mbarak, our overall top student graduating with First Class Honours in Bachelor of Communication and Multimedia Journalism (BCMJ), you have a job offer at Nation Media Group.

    “It's for you to decide whether to take it or…” He was cut short by the deafening cheers. 

    The applause and cheers rose into the air inside the meticulous graduation tent at the graduation square. It was quite loud. Parents, relatives, graduands, the lecturers, Vice Chancellor Prof. Robert Gateru, the Chancellor and the keynote speaker at the 6th Commencement, Dr Tonny Omwansa are all energetically applauding. 

    It’s Friday morning, July 8, 2022, and Aisha’s world has just taken another turn. And mind you, she is still a graduand, a few hours from being a graduate.

    I am caught up in the euphoria too. You see, when the feeling of success inspired our emotions, the cheers nearly took down the graduation square. I have never met Aisha Mbarak in my entire life, but her success summed up her life.

    A few minutes earlier.

    From my seat, at the far left of the tent, I adjusted my maroon bow tie as Aisha Mbarak approached the podium to deliver her valedictorian speech. 

    It's customary for Riara University to label its celebrations a commencement rather than graduation. This was the 6th Commencement since Riara University was founded. The Class of 2022, were baptised by fire, their grit tested by the onset of the pandemic. 

    Online classes and Health Act restrictions were enforced while they were enrolling for their 1st-year studies. It’s been a journey that drained every ounce of their strength. A journey worth sacrificing for. And for that, they were nicknamed the Tenacious Class of 2022. 

    To speak on their behalf is Aisha Mbarak. 

    Aisha Mbarak, Riara University’s Class of 2022 overall top student reads the valedictorian speech at the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022.
    Aisha Mbarak, Riara University’s Class of 2022 overall top student reads the valedictorian speech at the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022.
    Riara University

    I am quite intrigued by her speech. She smiles, scans the podium, laughs then commences. But of course, for a communication graduand, this is her field. She got it covered. 

    “It is indeed a pleasure and an honour to deliver the Valedictorian Speech this morning. My heartfelt congratulations go out to all my fellow graduands on reaching an important milestone in our academic journey. Today is our day. A day in which we reminisce upon our perseverance, sweat, and tears that went into the hard work that brought us the success we are celebrating today. 

    “Four years ago, we walked in here with dreams and aspirations. Today, we leave with even bigger ambitions. All the knowledge instilled in us by our lecturers will be immensely valuable to us in our future endeavours,” she begins. 

    She writes, speaks, and delivers, describing every aspect with rich details. 

    She enables all of us to visualize, and look back at the years the Tenacious Class of 2022 spent at Riara University. She touches her lecturer's hearts with heart-warming words, appreciating every effort they put to bring forth their potential. 

    “They each made it their mission to help me fulfil my dreams of becoming a journalist. Not only did they help with my voice intonation, practice mock interviews, push me to interview industry experts, and recommend me for opportunities within the industry, they each gave me the courage to step out of my shell and become a confident mature woman who stands before you today. And for that, I say Thank you.”

    Riara University Class of 2022 graduates at the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022.
    Riara University Class of 2022 graduates at the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022.
    Riara University

    Her mother has been pivotal in her success, and the point hits home. 

    “One person who taught me the value of education provided me with emotional support and spoke highly of me to anyone who would listen is none other than my mum. Mum, I thank you for all the support and love you accorded me through the years as I pursued my university education. I love you so much. 

    “To my big sister and role model, thank you for listening to me, offering words of encouragement, and guiding me to be the best I can be. To my friends who I spent countless hours with, studying for tests together, proofreading each other’s work, and making memories that will last a lifetime – Cheryl, Clara, Lynne, Kay, and Cyprian thank you. I could not have done it without you.”

    As she winds down her speech, she does not fail to point out that Riara University is an institution of big dreamers and they have spent the last four years developing their knowledge in their focus areas to make their dreams a reality. 

    Riara University students at the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022
    Riara University students at the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022
    Riara University

    “Today, we take the final step in our university experience. Our hard work, long hours of studying, and constant hours of stress have finally paid off. Now, we can take the knowledge we have gained here at Riara University to fulfil our hearts' desires and make a difference in the world. In whatever you do after you leave Riara University, I wish you all -- happiness and success in your endeavours.

    “It is time we shape ourselves to be the best we can be and become role models for future generations. I leave you with these inspiring words that fill me with hope, courage, and happiness. In whatever you set out to do, always give it 150 per cent.”

    Wild cheers. 

    I pick key points from her speech, Riara not only empowers but shapes students to do greater good in society. 

    The stories of other outstanding graduands are witnesses that Riara University graduates are a testament to the institution’s core beliefs. 

    Vice Chancellor Prof. Robert Gateru in his speech recognises that they are tenacious for their resilience and sheer tenacity to overcome all odds. 

    Riara University students at the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022.
    Riara University students at the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022.
    Riara University

    “Besides academic excellence, many of you have made other significant achievements while at Riara University. I could mention all of you since most of you have become my friends now but allow me to highlight just a few,” he requests. 

    Tracy Ng’eno from the School of Communication & Multimedia Journalism who was once Miss Riara University 2019 and also Miss Water Kenya has gone on to be a fashion supermodel and a mental health and wellness ambassador. 

    Tevin Obai from the School of Computing Sciences was the secretary of the RU iTtech Club which developed over 20 IT systems as a freelance software developer. He was also part of a team that took part and successfully secured funding during the Shelter Tech Programme held at Strathmore University by Habitat for Humanity through which he successfully developed a system for a startup company that has currently on-boarded over 80 properties.  

    Zaria Gikonyo from Law School is a passionate champion of mental health among the youth. She blogs and also gives talks to raise awareness on mental health and has appeared on national TVs championing health issues. 

    Riara University students at the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022.
    Riara University students at the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022.
    Riara University

    Joy Akinyi from the School of Communication and Multimedia Journalism participated in a continent-wide panel on student leadership in Accra, Ghana last month where she did extremely well.

    Angela Muriithi has been one of the most active students having organised countless activities on campus and even served at one point as the Chairperson of the Riara University Independent Electoral Commission and still, she is graduating with a First Class Honours degree in Human Resources.

    Suad Osman and Joy Doreen Wanyika pioneered the RU Ladies Soccer team and led it to great heights of excellence to a point where they were poised for a major promotion in the league just before COVID struck.

    Chris Otondi Kengere from the School of Business, despite what many would consider a physical handicap on his hand has lived a full life and created many innovations including participating in a global Hackathon called DigiEduHack in 2019. 

    Anapenda sana kunigotea na huo mkono (He loves greeting me with that hand),” VC Prof. Robert Gateru, a favourite of the students, says, amid laughter and applause. 

    His story tells of the passion lecturers embody.

    The VC notes that the last Tracer Study Riara University did shows that about 93 per cent of its graduates have something to do within one year of graduation, with 85 per cent being engaged within 6 months, and 50 per cent before graduation. 

    Graph illustration of Tracer Study conducted by Riara University
    Graph illustration of Tracer Study conducted by Riara University
    Kenyans.co.ke
    Adongo Kyalo

    Notable alumni include our Ms. Edith Njage who is a serial entrepreneur employing over 100,000 people across many countries and Samuel Kyalo who graduated from Harvard Law School with his Master of Laws in 2022. 

    Ruth Ogbewekwon also graduated with LLM from Harvard Law School a few years back and is working with the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals. Chrispine Marvine Just graduated in June 2022 with a Master of Laws in Oil and Gas from the University of Dundee in the UK. 

    VC Gateru’s advice is one I embraced dearly. I bought into his perspective of life.

    “Whether you will be job hunting or working, believe in your tenacity. You will face rejection, cry and moan here and there. But how you react will define you.

    A quote box of Riara University’s Vice Chancellor Prof. Robert Gateru shared on social media platforms during the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022
    A quote box of Riara University’s Vice Chancellor Prof. Robert Gateru shared on social media platforms during the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022
    Kenyans.co.ke

    “Go be the solution not seek solutions from others. Seek to touch lives, seek to make a difference in the lives of other people. Whether its bosses or clients, touch lives. Be found faithful to your God, values, family, colleagues, profession and ambition, God-given talents, your country and humanity. Go be the difference the society seeks for.” 

    The Chancellor Dr. Wilfred David Kiboro picks up from where the VC paused, adding that a job has two perspectives, being solution driven and having an innovative idea.

    Riara University students at the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022
    Riara University students at the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022
    Riara University

    Dr Kiboro emphasizes integrity, pointing out that corruption has eaten into society’s moral fabric. 

    “The destiny of our continent is in your hands. Our country has reached a point where we have many menaces and corrupt people in society. Your parents did not educate you to be corrupt but to reject acquiring material things through corruption. 

    “Restore our moral fabric as a generation, restore our environment, Mother Nature is ailing.”

    He touches deep inside our hearts highlighting that the world lacks positivity. It's a selfish world, every person on their own. 

    “This life is not about you. It is about being good and doing good. Do good to other people and goodness will follow you. It's as simple as that. Be the light and salt of the nation so that when people see you, they are proud of Riara University.”

    A quote box of Riara University’s Chancellor Dr Wilfred Kiboro shared on social media platforms during the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022.
    A quote box of Riara University’s Chancellor Dr Wilfred Kiboro shared on social media platforms during the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022.
    Kenyans.co.ke

    He awards Michelle Miriam Mshimba, a Law graduand, the Chancellor's Award bestowed in every commencement to the overall outstanding student in academia, leadership, community service, internship, innovation, club and other co-curricular activities. 

    Mshimba put Riara University on the map and aided her Law school to grow during her attachment at Triple OK Law firm. 

    Dr Tonny Omwansa, the CEO of Kenya National Innovation Agency (KENIA) and keynote speaker at the commencement wraps up by noting how crucial it is to always maintain and add value. 

    “However long we exist we cannot predict tomorrow. The future is certainly more complex uncertain and unpredictable. Have the ability to adjust and thrive. What you know now is not important if you cannot adjust and navigate tomorrow.” 

    All graduands from Schools of Business, Communication, Computing Sciences, Education, International Relations and Diplomacy and Law receive their conferment and excellence awards. They then recite the Alumni Pledge of Honour, to represent the spirit of Riara University. 

    The Administration Police band plays a tune and it’s hugging, smiling and photo session moments. 

    Riara University Chancellor Dr Wilfred Kiboro presents the Chancellor’s Award to Michelle Miriam Mshimba at the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022.
    Riara University Chancellor Dr Wilfred Kiboro presents the Chancellor’s Award to Michelle Miriam Mshimba at the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022
    Riara University

    I see Aisha Mbarak hugging either her mother or her sister, congratulating her on the job offer. 

    Outside a parent pulls her daughter closer, they are crying, hugging each other. “Mama, I made you proud,” she says. 

    I remember in Aisha Mbarak’s valedictorian speech, she advised her classmates to live their lives but uphold all virtues that exist in the whole world. 

    “Fellow Graduands, it’s about that time when we throw our hats into the air, say farewell to Riara University, and Hello to our prospective futures. We are the Tenacious Class of 2022. 

    “It is time we shape ourselves to be the best we can be and become role models for future generations. The only way from here is going up.”

    Riara University’s Class of 2022 overall top student graduating, Aisha Mbarak, celebrates her graduation at the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022
    Riara University’s Class of 2022 overall top student graduating, Aisha Mbarak, celebrates her graduation at the institution’s 6th Commencement on Friday, July 8, 2022
    Riara University