UL Board of Trustees Approves Julius Nelson as New President

MONROVIA, Montserrado – The University of Liberia’s Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to approve the nomination of Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson, Jr. as president of the university, following his appointment on Oct. 18 by President George Manneh Weah.


According to a statement issued by the university, the vote came in a special meeting called by Weah on Monday, Nov. 11 to discuss the nomination.


Nelson replaces the university’s former president, Ophelia Weeks, who was relieved of her post by Weah in a move many observers believed was abrupt and retaliatory, following the announcement of a strike by university lecturers whom the university owed salary arrears. 


Weeks’ two-year stewardship of the university commenced in Dec. 2006, following the retirement of former president Emmett Dennis.


In his letter to the university board appointing Nelson, addressed to its chairwoman, Mary Laurene Browne, the president invoked his authority under the university’s charter, empowering him as the visitor of the university to “nominate the president of the university for approval of the board.”


In notifying Nelson of the board’s endorsement, Browne congratulated him for his preferment, and at the same time challenged him to work assiduously to uplift the university and push for its development.


Nelson offered profuse thanks and appreciation to the university’s board, according to the release. He promised to keep the entire university community “fully engaged in activities for its advancement,” noting further that he is “no stranger to the University of Liberia or its unique circumstances.”


He taught and worked at the university as dean and vice president for student affairs for 12 years. He was also an associate professor of moral philosophy and ethics and chairperson of the Department of Philosophy.


Nelson holds a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Liberia; a master’s degree in divinity from Gammon Theological Seminary, Atlanta, Georgia; and a doctorate in Christian Ministry from the United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio. 


The university’s board praised Nelson for his “several outstanding positions in public and religious service.” He is currently senior pastor of the Refuge United Methodist Church of the Monrovia District of the Liberia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Several years ago, Nelson ran unsuccessfully for bishop of the United Methodist Church in Liberia and its Annual Conference. 


Nelson will be formally inducted as the university’s 15th president on Thursday, Nov. 28, just a month shy of the university’s centennial commencement convocation in December. 


Featured photo courtesy of the University of Liberia

Gbatemah Senah

Senah is a graduate of the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. Between 2017 and 2019, he won six excellent reporting awards from the Press Union of Liberia. They include a three-time Land Rights Reporter of the Year, one time Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Human Rights Reporter of the Year.

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