Fourah Bay College’s (FBC) John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) edifice, which was named after the assassinated United States President, was on Friday rededicated after being rehabilitated with fund from the people and the government of the United States.
Care International County Director- Brian Larson said, “President Kennedy made a profound impact on the US and the world; one example is the creation of Peace Corps.”
He noted that many of their early volunteers who came to Sierra Leone as Peace Corps passed through FBC Campus and some of them through the Kennedy Building.
Quoting his favorite quotes: “a mind once stretched with new ideas never regains its original dimension.”
Larson said, “let this new renovated JFK building provide the space for peoples mind to be stretched by new ideas so that today’s student in Sierra Leone becomes tomorrow’s leaders.”
According to Sahr Gevao, Principal of the College of Medicine “It is a memorable day because almost exactly 45 years ago November 23, 1963 John F Kennedy the 35th President of the United States of America was assassinated; though his reign as President only lasted for two years 1961-1963 his memory lives on.”
He furthered that “we are assemble here to witness the reopening of the JFK Building, FBC; the magnificent building dedicated in memory of this great statesman.” The statement continues, “the refurbishing of this building offers a big boost for Fourah Bay College, it provides an improvement for much needed space required by Lectures and Administrative Staff. This refurbishing has come in such an appropriate time when the number of students seems to outweigh available spaces. We can not shy away from the fact that this has been in dire need for refurbishing for a long time now. We could certainly not have undertaken this exercise because of obvious financial inadequacies. However, through constant and persistent knocking on doors of donors and partners in development, we finally secured the help of the American Embassy through the former Ambassador Thomas Hull”.
United States of America Ambassador to Sierra Leone June Carter Perry said in 1963 the United States commissioned the construction of the building, named in honor of President John F Kennedy. “It has stood as the centerpiece of learning in Sierra Leone here at the Fourah Bay College, the oldest University in Sub-Saharan Africa, since that time. It is a symbol of the United States and Sierra Leone’s shared commitment to learning and education,” she said.
“We are proud to see that despite a decade of conflict the building has been in continuous use, and we are proud that it will now be able to provide a more welcoming environment to the young minds of Sierra Leone,” the Ambassador intimated.
She revealed that the rehabilitation of the JFK Building, a $22,000 commitment over the last 18 months, coincides with the 45th anniversary of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
“JF Kennedy is one of America’s greatest Leaders, and is remembered especially fondly for his role in establishing the Peace Crops,” she averred.
The Peace Crops, Emissary Perry explained, “traces its roots and mission to 1960, when then Senator JF Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their Country in the cause of peace, by living and working in developing countries. From that inspiration, President Kennedy established the Peace Crops as an agency of the federal government devoted to world peace and friendship. It is in that spirit of peace and friendship that we come together today,” she stressed.
“The United States originally commissioned this building because of a belief that education drives social and economic development. We wanted to provide an environment conducive to learning for young people of Sierra Leone,” noted Ambassador Perry.
Vice President Sam Sumana admonished students to utilize the building well; adding that they must not vent their anger and frustration on public property, but rather use the right channel in seeking redress. By Ophaniel Gooding