Bernard Onyango was the first Academic Registrar of Makerere when the institution became an independent national University in 1970. In tribute to the distinguished educationist, gallant alumnus, and long serving and exemplary public servant in tertiary administration, Makerere university will host the inaugural Bernard Onyango Memorial Lecture on 30th May 2014.
At the same occasion, the Bernard Onyango Academic Excellence Award for outstanding students at O and A Level Secondary education will be awarded to its first recipients Mr. Isaac Munno and Mr. Simon Wandera of St. Peter’s College Tororo.
Profile of Bernard Onyango
It all started over sixty-five years ago when in 1945, the young Bernard Onyango, born 11th January 1930, enrolled as a Senior One student of St. Peter’s.
His prolific academic acumen would later stand out when he passed with high distinction in the 1948 Cambridge School Certificate examinations of the time.
This feat has only been partially achieved by Mr. Munni George who scored 8 distinctions for 8 subjects at O Level in 2013.
Mr. Onyango then enrolled for a B.A in History and Sociology at Makerere Universityin 1951 and later, a one year Diploma in Education, leaving school in 1955.
The late Bernard Onyango joined Makerere University service in 1963 when he was appointed Deputy Registrar. In 1965 Mr. Onyango became a Registrar of the University of East Africa and in 1969 he returned to Makerere University as Academic Registrar.
On 1st July 1970 when Makerere became an independent national University of the Republic of Uganda, he became her first Academic Registrar, a position he held until his retirement in 1992.
He was also the founding Academic Registrar of the Uganda Martyrs University Nkozi, a position he held until is official retirement from public service in December 2000.
As the longest serving Academic Registrar of Makerere University, he is remembered for his absolute incorruptibility, outstanding integrity and professionalism, and strict adherence to academic excellence.
Students of Makerere university during the 22 years of his service as Academic Registrar fondly referred to the end of year promotional exams as the ‘Onyango Disco’ and the re-sits for those who failed at the first attempt as the ‘August Conference’.
Away from his professional life, the late Bernard Onyango was a loving husband, father, grandfather and mentor, who was rich in honour, humour and loved everyone.
In order to preserve the memory of the late Bernard Onyango and honour his pledge to reward any student who equaled his academic prowess, the St. Peter’s College Tororo Old Boys Association (SPECTOBA) in conjunction with the family of the late Bernard Onyango have initiated The Bernard Onyango Academic Excellence Awards.
The first recipient is slated to receive his award at a Dinner set to be held on 30th May 2014, at the Silver Springs Hotel Bugolobi, starting at 6:00pm.