Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – The United Methodist University-Sierra Leone took a momentous step on Tuesday, October 24, 2023, by officially renaming its School of Business and Entrepreneurial Studies as the “Dr. James Sanpha Koroma School of Business and Entrepreneurial Studies.” This change signifies a tribute to Dr. Koroma’s significant contributions to Sierra Leone and his deep-rooted affiliation with the Methodist faith, shared alongside his family.
Dr. James Sanpha Koroma, a renowned business tycoon and the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Union Trust Bank (UTB), the nation’s sole one hundred percent privately-owned commercial indigenous bank, has played a pivotal role in fostering robust financial institutions in the country. Notable institutions he has been instrumental in include Rokel Commercial Bank, Sierra Leone Commercial Bank, NaSSIT, the National Authorising Office, and First Discount House, among several others.
UTB, under Dr. Koroma’s leadership, has expanded with 23 branches across the nation, generating employment opportunities for thousands of Sierra Leoneans.
The naming ceremony, which honoured Dr. Koroma by incorporating his name into the United Methodist University, was attended by distinguished academics from the United Methodist University, Ernest Bai Koroma University, and the University of Sierra Leone, among other guests. The event took place at the United Methodist University’s campus on Kingharman Road in Freetown.
In her statement, Madam Florence Fofanah, the Registrar of the United Methodist University, underlined the significance of the occasion, emphasizing that Sanpha Koroma has been a source of inspiration to many.
During his sermon, Reverend Karim emphasized the purposeful nature of names, stating that names should be closely linked to the individual they represent. He cited Dr. Koroma as an example.
Professor Ekundayo Thompson, the Vice Chancellor of the United Methodist University, shared the background of the naming decision, emphasizing that it was an act of recognition for Dr. James Sanpha Koroma’s service and achievements. He believed that Dr. Koroma’s accomplishments in the public and corporate sectors would inspire both the School of Business and Entrepreneurial Studies and the broader university community to excel in teaching, research, community engagement, and commercial services.
Professor George Carew, in his address on “Leadership and Crisis in a Broken Society,” acknowledged the challenges faced during the colonial period and stressed the importance of a values-based education. He also highlighted the enduring impact of the civil war on the nation and urged a commitment to positive values.
Bishop Warner H. Brown, the Chancellor of the United Methodist University, emphasized the long history of the United Methodist Church’s contributions to Sierra Leone, particularly in education, healthcare, and human capital development. He noted that the Methodist Church operates on a global scale, connecting with partners worldwide.
Following the unveiling of the School of Business and Entrepreneurial Studies plaque, Dr. James Sanpha Koroma, flanked by his wife, expressed gratitude to the committee and the university for the significant recognition. He recognized that having an institution named after an individual carries a weighty responsibility and affirmed his dedication to the church and the university.
In an interview with Awoko Newspaper, Dr. Koroma emphasized that the appointment did not come with financial support but rather aimed to recognize his capacity to fulfil the role effectively. He underscored the responsibility that such appointments entail and the need for careful selection of individuals to carry out these tasks.
Dr. James Sanpha Koroma’s impressive educational background includes studies at the Prince of Wales School, Fourah Bay College, and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Durham in 1969. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Public Finance from the United States of America in 1971 and a Master of Science degree from the University of Birmingham in 1974.
His distinguished career includes roles as an Economist in the Ministry of Finance for the Government of Sierra Leone, service as the Alternate Executive Director at Africa Development Bank Limited, work at the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank Limited, and a tenure as the Governor of the Central Bank of Sierra Leone.
Furthermore, he served as the Secretary and Principal Adviser to the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone from January 2008 to August 2008. Currently, he holds the position of Chancellor at the University of Sierra Leone and has been involved in establishing, founding, promoting, reconstituting, and pioneering numerous state and corporate institutions in Sierra Leone.
Dr. James Sanpha Koroma has received multiple awards, including Fellow of the Institute of Directors, United Kingdom, Grand Commander of the Order of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Grand Officer of the Order of the Republic of Sierra Leone, and numerous others. MJB/25/10/2023