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Prof. Olive Mugenda

Former Vice-Chancellor, Kenyatta University, Kenya

Prof. Olive Mugenda has been the Vice-Chancellor of Kenyatta University, a centre of excellence in higher education in Africa from 2006 to March 2016. Before becoming Vice-Chancellor, Prof Mugenda had had a long and eventful career in education. The journey began in 1979, when she graduated with a first class honours degree in education from the University of Nairobi. She later did a Master of Science degree and PhD in Family and Consumer Sciences and a PhD at Iowa State University (USA).  She is also a holder of a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Eastern and Southern Africa Management Institute. She has taught at Kenyatta University for many years, rising to various leadership positions including Chairman of Department, Dean and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Finance, Planning & Development). She entered the history books as not only the first woman Vice-Chancellor of a public university in Kenya but also in the East Africa region. Prof. Mugenda has, over the years, built an international reputation as a university teacher and researcher. She has supervised numerous Masters and PhD thesis, won several research grants and served as technical adviser and resource person to numerous workshops in and outside Africa.

Apart from chairing The Association of Commonwealth Universities, Prof. Mugenda also sits on the board of regional and global bodies. Notable among them is the International Association of Universities where she is the Vice-President; member to the Steering Committee, Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform (SPHEIR) based in the United Kingdom; Board member, African Centre for Transformative & Inclusive Leadership Initiative, a partnership between Kenyatta University and UNWomen and a member of the Steering Committee for the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) among others.  She is also a Director of Nation Media Group and a Non-Executive Director for UBA Kenya Bank Limited.   She is a recipient of the Elder of Burning Spear (EBS) and Chief of the Order of the Burning Spear (CBS) presidential awards.   Prof. Mugenda is also a recipient of the Ernst and Young Lifetime Achievement Award and the Honorary Fellow award of the Kenya Institute of Management. Prof. Mugenda was recently awarded the highly competitive and prestigious Impact Research and Science in Sub- Saharan Africa (IMPRESSA) Award by the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM).  Prof. Mugenda was recognized for her “outstanding contribution to Africa’s Development through institutional transformation and the creation of an African Entrepreneurial University Model with development relevance.  In February 2016, the French Government through the French Embassy in Nairobi awarded Prof. Mugenda the Order of Academic Palms – a national order of France for Distinguished Academics and figures in the world for her efforts in steering the University’s growth.

Her mandate as Council member started on June 25th,2016 and her first mandate will expire the 24th June, 2020.