Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has capped 3 507 graduates at Midlands State University (MSU)’s 21th graduation ceremony at its main campus in Gweru.

Against the Covid-19 background, 3397 had their degrees and awards conferred virtually and 110 physically.

Of those who graduated, 2 670 graduated with Bachelors’ degrees while 837 with Master’s degrees and 11 with Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

The President commissioned a textile factory at MSU Industrial Park Complex in the heavy Industrial area.

The Industrial Park has been central in the manufacturing of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers in the province and face masks in the battle against Covid-19.

President Mnangagwa also commissioned a million-dollar state-of-the art new lecture complex built by the University at the Commercial block at TelOne Campus named after the former and late Midlands provincial Governor and national hero Cde Cephas Msipa.

Presenting the graduates to the President, who is also the Chancellor of the University, MSU Vice Chancellor Professor Victor Muzvidziwa said of a total of 3507 graduands, 51.8percent of whom are female and 48.2percent male.

“Your Excellency and Chancellor, we will be presenting to you a total of 3507 graduands, 51.8percent of whom are female and 48.2percent male. Of these, 2670 are graduating with Bachelors’ degrees and 837 with Master’s degrees. A total of eleven (11) will today graduate with Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Your Excellency and Chancellor, against the Covid-19 background, 3397 will have their degrees and awards conferred virtually and 110 are physically here today,” he said.

Prof Muzvidziwa said their international student community is highly diversified with 13 nationalities representing Botswana, Cameroon, China, DRC, Eswatini, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, UK, and Zambia.

“Sixteen (16) international students are graduating today. Nine (9) of them are South Sudanese and seven (7) are from eSwatini. We say to them: Congratulations,” he said.

Prof Muzvidziwa said he was happy to report a 100percent Covid -19 free on the part of their international students who have been able to continue with their studies.

He said despite the disruptions caused by Covid -19, they managed to teach, research, innovate and learn to be social and human in a virtual world.

“We were able to carry on with our research and teaching using digital methodologies, we taught in google classrooms. We have forged ahead by redefining and shaping this moment. In fact, the Covid-19 pandemic has leap-frogged us into the ICT driven world. We have realised that a significant part of our work can now be done virtually,” he said.

Prof Muzvidziwa said the university was moving away from churning out academic professionals to a more practical and innovative approach in line with the expectations of the second republic.

He said MSU has been awarded by the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO), a patent titled “Method for Coal Tar Modification Using Nano Particles for Road Surfacing”.

“We celebrate a truly ground breaking modified coal tar technology that will immensely impact road infrastructure construction and has potential to be commercially successful. This invention by Mr Actor Zonde, Dr Gift Mehlana, Dr Tafadzwa Wendy Murinzi and Dr Upenyu Guyo discloses a method of producing a tar product with enhanced mechanical and thermal properties recommended for use in the sub-Saharan climate.  This patent now awaits commercial exploitation,” he said.