Dream Big, Let’s go to the Moon and Space – Dr. Dougbeh Chris Nyan urges as Monrovia College Centennial Keynote Inspiration Speaker
At the Centennial Anniversary of the Monrovia College and Industrial Training School in Liberia, Dr. Dougbeh Chris Nyan urged the students and faculty to dream big, build on the strong legacy of the past one hundred years, and embrace the future optimism. Dr. Nyan made the statement when he served as Centennial Keynote Inspirational Speaker last Friday. Below is the full text of the speech delivered virtually.
Centennial Commemoration Keynote Inspirational Address
By Dougbeh Chris Nyan
Class of ’83
Monrovia College and Industrial Training School (MC)
May 6, 2022
I am very elated to be chosen from among thousands of students, faculty, and Alumni to address this important occasion. One hundred years of existence is not a small thing. That is a whole century that this noble institution of ours, the Monrovia College and Industrial Training School (MC) has existed. Throughout the last 100 years, MC trained Liberians and other nationals to be educated and technically equipped to serve society and global humanity. I am a true witness and product of Monrovia College.
You see, as Keynote Inspirational Speaker today, it also appears that I am giving my valedictorian address, the one I was denied when I was expelled from a particular high school in the 12th grade because of the Military Decree 2A of the then People’s Redemption Council. This Military Decree 2A banned all student political and democratic activities in schools and the country in the 1980s. Some of you may be shocked to hear that I was expelled from high school before ending up at Monrovia College and being admitted in the 12th grade. Although they did not know that I was expelled from school before applying to MC, it was a very rare and difficult decision that was taken by the MC faculty under the leadership of President Louis C. York in 1983. This may be the first time you are hearing this story. But the full story will be left for another day. At this moment, let us please stand and observe a moment of silence in honoring Mrs. Louis C. York, President of the Monrovia College and Industrial Training School — that critical, soft-spoken, and disciplinary educator.
Chairperson and Members of the Board of Directors/Trustees
President, Vice Presidents and Faculty Members, and Students of Monrovia College
Honorees and other Invited Guests
I bring you profound greetings from your MC family in the diaspora and those living across the length and breadth of Liberia. This year 2022 is surely a remarkable one. We are alive to see our school and Alma mater celebrate its 100th Anniversary.
When the founders conceived the establishment of Monrovia College, little did they know how much impact their decision would make on society? They took a bold step amidst all odds to challenge illiteracy and proved to their detractors in segregated America that Africans could educate Africans. Hence, over the last 100 years, Monrovia College trained citizens in various aspects of career, trade, and professions and prepared us to go into society as productive citizens. That is why as we celebrate this milestone, we must remember and appreciate as well as applaud the tremendous sacrifices, vision, and accomplishments of our founders that have brought us to where we are today. They have left a marked legacy that we are under obligation to uphold, build upon and continue – that Legacy which is expressed in our motto: Education for the Betterment of Mankind (to be politically correct, I will say Education for the Betterment of Humankind or Humanity).
On a solid rock, they have built the legacy of courage and determination; the legacy of good educational training and career counseling; the legacy of optimism and farsightedness; the legacy of prayers – praying without ceasing and always remembering the Almighty God of our Ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
You will see products of Monrovia College all over Liberia, Africa, and the world as Professors, Lecturers, Teachers, Engineers, Nurses, Pastors, Journalists, Financial Experts, Entrepreneurs, Diplomats, Lawyers, Legislators, Social Advocates, and a wide range of other professionals of life contributing to the building of societies around the world. Oh! I almost forgot to say Monrovia College has also produced Medical Doctors and Scientists as well. They continue to make us all proud.
Monrovia College has always been one of the toughest secondary schools in Africa to attend. We did almost 13 subjects, while other schools were doing about 8 subjects. MC designed its curriculum to instill academic excellence and discipline in us and demanded it in return. The school molded our moral characters to be decent citizens and this is reflected in its products all around the world. In our societies today where corruption, bad governance, cheer-leading for the wrong reasons, and opportunism have become a lucrative career for some we can stand strong to say “No” … we want good governance, a good educational system, good healthcare, equal justice, and social-economic justice for all (not a few). How else can our education be used for the betterment of humanity if we ignore these vices that destroy societies? We cannot!
Monrovia College has existed for 100 years now. The last forty (40) of those one-hundred years have seen our nation/country going through different phases of governance and historic changes: from the overthrow of the oligarchic civilian rule to military rule; then a 14-year long civil war; then back to civilian rule with a multiparty democratic system that is now being threatened. I take particular note of the 14-year civil war which set us back educationally and destroyed our infrastructure. That is why today MC is not in its original building on Campus Johnson Road. Why? Because during this turbulent time, MC gave birth to a full university –The African Methodist Episcopal University and had to “surrender” it’s building to the AMEU, thus taking us to a different location. Academic instructions have been carried out from this small location ever since, while students have to be chaperoned to various locations (and even back to MC’s old building) for other academic learning activities – as if the MC students came to take back their building. Well, we said Education for the Betterment of Mankind; hence, we will not take it back.
To the Board, Faculty, and Staff (and of course the students), please know that my fellow Alumni and I do applaud the herculean efforts you are making in keeping the school academically strong and competitive; keeping up that old MC Spirit of the Monkeys Kingdom and the Monkeys Paradise. Together with our founders, we have built a strong legacy throughout the last 100 years.
As we move into the future, we cherish and stand on those gains, but cannot ignore the challenges that lie before us; neither should we fail to see the prospects that the future holds. We must welcome and tightly embrace the future with optimism; we must set ourselves goals that will continue to make MC one of the top secondary schools in Africa and the world; we should not limit ourselves to Liberia. We should dream big as we have always done. If we go to sleep tonight and dream about “pen-pen” and “Ke-Ke,” that will be a bad dream; I challenge us to go back to sleep and dream about Mercedes, BMW, and Tesla; we should dream about going to the moon; we should dream about going to space, and not just dreaming about flying in an airplane! When you trained me, I did dream big; and, that is why I am where I am today and for which I am very appreciative.
Every one of us here tonight knows that we broke ground a few days ago for the construction of a new building for the great Monrovia College. We will carry out this project at our own pace, not competing with anyone, but ourselves and our past progress. We will make our financial contributions and mobilize the requisite funding to ensure the completion of the building. We will mobilize materials and equipment to furnish the building in a modern form. We need to have a science and technology laboratory that will be one of the best so that we produce young scientists and innovators in engineering, agriculture, electronics, and other technologies. Remember we are an Industrial Training School. This will be a collective effort and discussions have already begun amongst ourselves with the faculty and school authorities.
Towards the fundraising tonight, my family and I will make a contribution of $1000.00 to be deposited in the appropriate account; I will then work with the Alumni Association to explore every possibility of gathering laboratory equipment for the science lab over the next several years leading to the completion of the building for the science lab. Also, the Nyan Scholarship Program (NSP) through the Alumni Association will make a scholarship available for the next two academic years – to be awarded to the Student Council President. Why? Because I was the democratically elected student council president when I was expelled from high school for advocating student rights and democracy against the military degree, before coming to MC.
My dear MC Family, 100 years of existence is a huge accomplishment. Let us gallantly march into the future with dignity, pride, and optimism that we can make it better – living up to our motto: “Education for the Betterment of Mankind and Humanity.”
As we always say: “Loyal We Shall Ever Be!”
Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOc_VBCVtpo