President Mnangagwa yesterday capped 3 507 graduates at Midlands State University (MSU) at a ceremony where most were capped virtually because of Covid-19 control regulations, but with 101 exceptional graduates, including some of those with masters and doctorate degrees, at the physical ceremony.
Of the 3 507 graduates, 2 670 received first degrees, 837 graduated with masters degrees while 11 graduated with doctorates.
The President also commissioned a state-of-the art new lecture complex built by the university and named after former Midlands Provincial Governor, the late Cde Cephas Msipa.
The President, who is Chancellor of the university, toured the institution’s industrial hub, which has been producing face masks and hand sanitisers for the market.
There were 16 international graduates, nine from South Sudan and seven from eSwatini.
MSU Vice Chancellor Professor Victor Muzvidziwa said the university was moving away from just graduating academic professionals to a more practical and innovative approach in line with the expectations of the Second Republic.
“Your Excellency and Chancellor, MSU strives to bring practical solutions to big problems. I am proud to report that MSU has been awarded by the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO), a patent titled ‘Method for coal-tar modification using nanoparticles for road surfacing’.
Prof Muzvidziwa said the road tar, which was modified at the institution, was set to be launched at commercial level and would help improve the local road infrastructure.
“We celebrate the truly ground-breaking modified coal-tar technology that will immensely impact road infrastructure construction and has a potential to be commercially successful,” he said.
Prof Muzvidziwa said the university had a thriving industrial hub which was mass producing face masks and certified hand sanitisers for the market as the institution took a leading role in the fight against the spread of Covid-19.
“When Covid-19 struck, MSU rose to the challenge in many ways. Covid-19 drove a national demand for cleaning and sanitisation chemicals.
“With seed capital from the Government, we set up a sanitiser production plant and re-purposed our garment making factory to start producing masks. Our sanitiser is certified by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe and we have contributed to ensuring that there is no shortage in the supply chain. The sanitiser project has been a catalyst in our innovation and industrialisation ecosystem.”
Prof Muzvidziwa said the university partnered with international universities in conducting research in line with modern demands.
“Your Excellency and Chancellor, I am glad to report that MSU is collaborating with Kumba LLC of New Mexico, USA. The collaboration enables research and development of cannabis products for medical treatments such as cancer, pain alleviation and eating disorders among others,” he said.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira and State Security Minister Owen Ncube, were among senior Government officials who accompanied the President.