Prof George Magoha was without a doubt a big name in the medicine and academia fields in the country.
From his days as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi to one of his latest major assignments at the helm of the Ministry of Education- Magoha always left a mark in most of the places he worked in.
His accolades in academia are enviable having been conferred with several honours including one in executive management at Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
He also attended other notable institutions in the world including the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin, Ireland and Royal Postgraduate Medical School Hammersmith Hospital, London, Department of Urology, where he earned various academic awards.
The depth of his experience and wealth of knowledge was at one point the talk of town when he paraded a 90-pages curriculum vitae during his vetting before being appointed as the Cabinet Secretary for Education in 2019.
After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, Magoha embarked on what would later become an illustrious career in his lifetime.
He started from a low beginning as an intern at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital before rising through the ranks and eventually occupying the position of Senior Resident and Clinical Lecturer in Surgery at the same amenity.
He would later return to Kenya in 1988 to join UoN as a Urology lecturer. As was the custom in his previous jobs, he rose through to become a full professor in the institution’s School of Medicine.
Magoha would later call the UoN his second home for years, shifting from one administrative position to another for decades. His work at the university earned him recognition and respect that later played a factor in his elevation to become the Vice Chancellor of one of the most reputable universities in the region.
He is credited for having helped UoN to earn recognition in the country and abroad after steering it to achieving the “Excellent” rating in terms of Performance Contracting.
During his tenure, Magoha also helped the university to register tremendous growth in both capacity and infrastructure to occupy an elevated position as a reputable institution.
Upon his retirement, Magoha worked in various institutions and organizations including his stint as the Chairman of the African Network of Scientific and Technological Institutions (ANSTI), an umbrella that brings together institutions in the fields of science and technology.
After a series of complaints of rampant cheating in the national examinations, the state turned to the services and competencies of Magoha who was known for his boldness and a no-nonsense approach to his work.
And sure enough, his tenure as the Chairman of the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) between 2016 and 2018 was seen as a turnaround and a moment when the national examinations restored their credibility.
In partnership with his former colleague at the University of Nairobi and the then Cabinet Secretary for Education Dr Fred Matiang’i, Magoha slammed the brakes on the rampant cheating cases and decided to play deaf to the critics and challenges that came along his way.
He would later be elevated to the position of Cabinet Secretary at the onset of retired President Uhuru Kenyatta’s second term in office in 2019.
He served in the capacity until the end of Kenyatta’s term in 2022. Even during the busy and prolonged election period, Magoha was seen as one of the few government officials who were still focused on the activities that pertain to their roles.
He traversed the nation while inspecting the then ongoing construction of classrooms meant to host the junior secondary school which he had served as the steward in its implementation stage.
After a break from active administrative roles, Magoha was recalled in January 2023 when Maseno University appointed him professor of surgery at the institution's School of Medicine.