Hekima University is the heart project of Fr. Paul Kalenzi, S.J., a Jesuit of the Eastern Africa Province, who came to Saint Ignatius four years ago to train in advancement. He says John Chandler, the president of the school, is his fundraising mentor, and has helped him work towards the goal of bringing to life a Jesuit university on the continent of his birth.
"It's the future of Africa, the fastest growing continent," said Kalenzi, "Africa has a huge youth population. We want to give them the skills they need to thrive. Just like my father educated my family and me, that's my passion: To help people through education. It's the best gift you can give anyone."
Fr. Kalenzi, S.J., invited Fr. Kizito Kiyimba, S.J., to speak about the push to build a co-educational Jesuit university in Molo, Kenya. Already, they have a gift of 75 acres. And they've had a ground breaking. Fr. Kiyimba was in the United States to fundraise with a goal of tapping into the network of people Fr. Kalenzi has established in his time here.
"Hekima University wants to turn out graduates who will partner with people in the Western world," said Kiyimba. He also said they want to give people the kind of hope that comes with opportunity.
Proposed schools within the university would cover data science, business, engineering and education science (STEM). According to Kiyimba, the U.S. fundraising goal is about $7 Million. His trip to speak with potential donors here is quite similar to the mission a familiar name to the Wolfpack, Fr. Arnold J. Damen, S.J., undertook more than 150 years ago. With the help of donors around the globe, Damen brought Jesuit education to Chicago, building the Church of the Holy Family and what became Saint Ignatius College Prep.
That's not lost on Fr. Kalenzi, who sees great need for places of learning that also emphasize the care required to make sure good students are good people, too. To that end, Hekima University already has a Mission Statement. It reads: "To form men and women committed to the advancement of innovative knowledge and technological entrepreneurship for a more just and humane society."
For more information on the Hekima University project, just visit www.JesuitsMidwest.org/HekimaUnivKenya.