The University of Malawi (Unima) recently presented honorary doctorate degrees (PhDs) to National Bank of Malawi (NBM) Chief Executive Officer, George Partridge, and retired former Chief of Nursing Services in the Ministry of Health, Lucy Kadzamira, for their outstanding leadership and moral qualities.
Unima Registrar, Benedicto Wokomaatani Malunga, said Partridge, as an alumnus of Unima was recognised because of his philanthropic activities at the bank.
“During his time at the helm of the bank, Mr. Partridge has taken special interest in corporate social responsibility by addressing challenges encountered by the underprivileged members of the Malawian society. He has done this by involving the bank in meaningful contributions to different communities which have positively changed people’s lives,” said Malunga.
“Mr. Partridge also used his leadership role in helping Unima introduce, for the first time in the history of the University, a much required Master’s degree programme in Commercial Law to fill a worrying gap which was prevailing in this important area of the law,” he said.
Malunga said this timely intervention means that Malawi has experts who can work with the Judiciary to accelerate resolutions of commercial disputes which slow down business if not expeditiously cleared.
He also said Partridge’s humility as a high ranking and relatively young Chief Executive in one of the fastest growing banks in Malawi, coupled with the heights to which he has taken the bank since he was entrusted with his current role, did not ‘escape the attention of Unima Honorary Degrees Committee’ which recommended his candidature for the award of honorary doctorate degree in Leadership and Management (Honoris Causa).
Malunga observed that the Council of the University of Malawi hoped that the exemplary leadership displayed by Partridge would inspire other alumni to emulate him.
On the PhD awarded to Kadzamira, he observed that she scored high on moral standing and effective leadership qualities.
“For example, despite the fact that she began her career as a nurse humbly because of limited training opportunities accessible to Malawians during the colonial era, this did not prevent her from seeing the need that future generations of Malawian students wishing to become professional nurses, should not look far for opportunities for advancement as she and members of her generation did,” he said
“She, therefore, used her critical position, sound training and international exposure to persuade the Malawi Government to convert the then Blantyre Nursing School into what we now know as Kamuzu College of Nursing, a constituent college of the University of Malawi which runs fully-fledged undergraduate and postgraduate nursing programmes,” said Malunga.
He also noted that this intervention happened when Malawi badly needed highly qualified professional nurses to run its health delivery system.
Malunga said Kadzamira proposed to Malawi Government that female health professionals should be given three months maternity leave to enable them rest and settle their new born babies.
“What initially began with nurses was extended to all women working within and outside government. In fact, in some organisations, men are now enjoying paternity leave as a result of her forward thinking initiative,” said Malunga.
Reacting to the honorary PhD, Partridge said he was filled with joy but at the same time humbled and honoured to be recognised with such a high accolade.
Partridge noted that without the excellent foundations he had at Unima in the early stages of his undergraduate life, he would not have been where he is now.
He attributed the award to his ‘very professional board and staff at NBM’ who he said are the ones responsible for shaping his leadership and making him visible.
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