An Honorary Doctorate Degree of Humane Letters has been conferred on the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, for her distinguished service to humanity, particularly in health, education and women’s economic empowerment.
The conferment done by the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) on Tuesday also saw the First Female Speaker of Parliament, Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo and First Female Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood, conferred with Honorary Doctorate Degree of Law respectively.
The conferment, according to the UPSA, is to recognise and celebrate great professionals who have demonstrated a commitment to humanitarian courses, engaged in significant philanthropy and whose exceptional contributions have left indelible marks on their field and society at large.
From groundbreaking achievements — social development, Law and politics and profound contributions to public service — these three distinguished women come from diverse fields, each contributing their quota for the betterment of society.
In her acceptance speech at the 15th Congregation (5th Session) and Ceremony to Confer Honorary Doctorate Degrees, First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo commended the UPSA for the honour done her and described the University as a renowned centre of excellence that has produced prominent leaders both here and abroad.
Mrs Akufo-Addo said her involvement with women and children took a particular turn in 2005 when she helped establish the Infanta Malaria Prevention Foundation with some remarkable women to assist in efforts to eradicate malaria, especially in children and pregnant women.
In 2017, when she became First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo established the Rebecca Foundation to support the well-being of women and children in the areas of Health, Education and Women’s Economic Empowerment.
“It has been quite a journey, with its challenges and triumphs. Through it all, my dear husband, the President, His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, has been my rock and greatest cheerleader,’ she indicated.
Mrs Akufo-Addo said her husband’s mentorship and insightful suggestions presented opportunities to learn and grow. “My success is his success as well. I am truly grateful to my husband.”
According to the First Lady, she had always known that all that people wanted was a decent life.
“So the desire to ensure women and children have a decent life has been my sole motivation.”
“Rewards, Recognition and Honorary Doctorate Degrees,” the First Lady explained, were never in her contemplation, at any stage on her philanthropic journey. “I simply wanted to make a difference in the lives of those who needed assistance.”
“This Honorary Doctorate, in all humility, is for the women and children of Ghana, whose resilience and drive continue to inspire me. It is an honour to receive it on their behalf,” she stated.
Mrs Akufo-Addo expressed gratitude and honour to be part of these eminent women, “who have made immense contributions to two arms of government, Legislature and the Judiciary. These are women I both respect and honour.”
“It is on record that these two remarkable women, Right Honourable Justice Bamford–Addo and Her Ladyship Theodora Wood, have attained the positions of number three and four in this country and have broken the glass ceiling for the women of Ghana.”
“But, like Martin Luther King, I also have a dream. I dream that one day there will be a woman President in Ghana and the title Madam President will be said as easily as Mr President. We hope this honour and our humble contribution to our nation, will inspire girls to aspire to the very top.”
To the graduates, Mrs Akufo-Addo reminded them that “you are graduating at a very challenging time in the world. Yet the world offers limitless opportunities. The only limitations are the ones you place on yourself.”
“But, as you pursue your purpose, remember this – compassion, kindness and integrity matter. I pray for all that is good for you.”
First Lady Akufo-Addo thanked all who had been part of her journey and, “indeed, all Ghanaians for their immense support for me and my work.”
The Vice Chancellor of UPSA, Prof Abednago F. O. Amartey, said Honorary degrees are not mere symbols of recognition but a testament to a lifetime of dedication, passion and impact.”
“Today, we will acknowledge these individuals who have exemplified excellence, innovation and service to humanity and becoming symbols of inspiration for generations to come,” he stated.
The Vice-Chancellor said the impact of these distinguished women of valour resonates far beyond imagination.
For this cohort, UPSA is expected to graduate a total of 5, 156 students, comprising 1,146 post graduates, 3, 106 undergraduates and 104 Diploma students.
The University presented a total of 176 students from the school of graduate studies for graduation. They comprise two Doctor of Philosophy students, 10 Master of Philosophy Students, 151 Master of Arts Students and 13 Master of Science Students.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD