Africa University Appoints Director of Finance


Nashville, TN - November 17, 2020—Africa University is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Lauranette S. Ford as Director of Finance, effective November 12, 2020. In this newly established position within the Africa University Development Office (AUDO), Ford oversees fiscal and fiduciary activities in the areas of investment, budgeting, accounting, audit, compliance and policy development, and is responsible for human resources and overall office management.  

“We warmly welcome Ms. Ford into the Africa University family,” said Vice Chancellor Munashe Furusa. “Her extensive experience and broad financial skills will help strengthen our financial policies and processes  in the Africa University Development Office. We look forward to working with her in developing efficient and effective financial models and scenarios, especially in this uncertain and volatile environment we are living in.”

Ford brings to the role vital expertise gained over more than 35 years working with business, consulting and auditing and non-profit entities. Her career includes 10 years with the largest public power provider in North America, the Tennessee Valley Authority-Office of the Inspector General.

From 1996-2002, Ford helped the clients of Deloitte, a Big4 consulting and auditing firm, cut costs and streamline operations with software conversions, risk assessment and strategic planning, and enhanced performance management. Between 2012-2018, she provided similar services to a wide range of clients through her consulting firm, Ford Services.

Lisa Tichenor, chair of the Board of the Africa University (Tennessee) Corporation, describes Ford as a great addition to a strong team.

“Ms. Ford’s strengths in forecasting and analyzing market trends will enhance Africa University’s strategic planning for the benefit of students in Africa,” said Tichenor. 

Ford is not new to the Africa University, having engaged with the institution and its leadership  while performing as the internal audit manager for the General Council on Finance and Administration of The United Methodist Church from 2004-2011.

“She is uniquely qualified to be the director of finance and has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the areas needed to help the Africa University Development Office and Africa University (Tennessee) Corporation be true to the mission of raising, investing and distributing funds to Africa University Zimbabwe,” said James H. Salley, associate vice chancellor for Institutional advancement. 

“Her knowledge of The United Methodist Church  is a major asset that puts her ahead of the learning curve in the challenging times in which we live and work in the denomination,” said Salley.

Over the past two years, Ford has supported the National Museum of African American Music’s $60M capital campaign in the areas of development, operations systems and database management. A graduate of South Carolina State University, Ford holds a B.Sc. in Business Administration with a major in Accounting. She is a Certified Internal Auditor, Fraud Examiner, Risk Management Assurance Professional, and Project Management Professional.

“My admiration for the Africa University Development Office is through its commitment to stewardship and ethics,” said Ford. “Now, I offer my strong work ethic, integrity, financial acumen, technical competence, and a zeal for continuous improvement in serving this ministry.”


About Africa University: Africa University is a pan-African higher education ministry of The United Methodist Church. Established in 1992 with 40 students from six African countries, it now has a total enrollment of 3,031 students from 28 African nations.

Degree programs as well as short courses are offered in three colleges: Health, Agriculture & Natural Sciences; Business, Peace, Leadership & Governance; and Social Sciences, Humanities, Theology and Education. Africa University’s key areas of focus are food security, public health, intellectual property rights, evangelism and church growth, good governance and leadership development, and innovation and business incubation.

More than 90 percent of Africa University’s 10,000+ alumni have remained on the continent of Africa. Graduates are in leadership roles in 32 African countries as well as in countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and North America. The university’s main campus is located near Mutare, in the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe.

To learn more about Africa University, and

Media contact:

Andra Stevens, Director of Communications

Africa University Development Office

Tel: (615) 340-7438

Generosity and Creativity Unleashed

May 8, 2020 - Nashville, TN—Thank you to Africa University's friends and supporters for #GivingTuesdayNow gifts totaling $89,356. Your generosity, unleashed through the special appeal on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, is supporting the university's COVID-19 pandemic-related efforts.

Africa University's contributions are ongoing. They include support for testing and contact tracing in the community as well as the production of sanitizer and face masks on its main campus.

The Government of Zimbabwe has extended the restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus to May 18. Zimbabwe is reporting a total of 34 coronavirus cases as of today, with nine recoveries and four deaths. The African continent as a whole is reporting more than 53,000 confirmed cases, with 18,000 recoveries and 2,000 deaths as a result of COVID-19.

Kudos for AU's bold choices:

This week, the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE)—the national body responsible for accreditation and quality control in higher education sector—affirmed  Africa University's decision to move forward with an online student assessment (examinations) plan. 

ZIMCHE's Chief Executive Officer, Professor Kuzvinetsa P Dzvimbo, wrote that with its choices, Africa University has "disrupted the University and more than "flipped" it.

"COVID-19 has ushered in a new era of teaching, and how students learn and how we assess and examine them," Prof. Dzvimbo noted in an email to the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Munashe Furusa.

"I like the fact that you are not focusing on challenges of connectivity and bandwidth for your students and staff," said Dzvimbo.  "You are re-thinking the way we think about learning, teaching, assessment and examination today."

Examinations begin on Monday, May 11 and end on June 5. Students will receive their examination questions on the university's learning management platform, Moodle, and have a 48-hour window to submit their responses online.

Students reach out on #GivingTuesdayNow:

The Giving Tuesday initiative, launched in 2012 to encourage people to be generous and come together to do good, has grown into a vibrant global movement that recognizes that "everyone has something to give and every act of generosity counts." 

That's a philosophy that resonates with Africa University's students. On #GivingTuesdayNow, students who are sheltering in place on the campus, unable to travel to their home countries, took donations of farm produce and other necessities to hard-hit families in the wider community.

“We have learnt from those (who are) sacrificing for us to be here, so we can also sacrifice the little that we have for those who are less privileged," said Fiston Okito, a Congolese student and scholarship recipient who is due to graduate in June.

Click here for a video 'Thank You' from Fiston Okito as he reflects on his Africa University education.

Thank you for equipping the students, faculty, staff and alumni of Africa University to serve, lead and be the change they want to see in the world. Together, we are changing the narrative!

Next week, the campus update will focus on the welfare of Africa University staff in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Media Release


teaching/learning to continue online 

Nashville, TN - March 24, 2020—Africa University is moving its teaching, learning and related activities online to ensure that students' academic progress continues uninterrupted. The university ceased normal operations and had its students leave the main campus on March 24 in adherence to a directive closing all colleges and universities, issued by the Government of Zimbabwe on March 19. University staff in roles that are deemed essential are reporting to work at the  main campus at Old Mutare.

There are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus at Africa University. On March 23, Zimbabwean authorities announced that one of the two individuals in the country who were confirmed to have the coronavirus had died. Those two cases were located in the resort town of Victoria Falls and in the capital, Harare. National health officials are  working to  identify everyone with whom these two individuals may have come into contact.

Africa University has been proactive in building its capacity to deliver instruction to its students online. Most of its programs are accessible via online distance learning.

Being pan-African in nature, Africa University is collaborating with the relevant embassies in Harare to address the welfare of its students from outside Zimbabwe. A number of students are facing challenges in returning to their home countries due to travel restrictions and financial constraints.

Precautions and  practices to combat the  spread of the coronavirus outbreak—as outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the  Centers for Disease Control (CDC)—have been implemented on the  Africa University campus. These protocols are being updated on an ongoing basis.

Africa University’s  rapid response team is providing daily updates to stakeholders. Health professionals on campus, including the staff of the  Bishop Alfred Norris Health Clinic, are working closely with local and national health authorities on protocols to safeguard the health of the community.

"The Africa University community—students, faculty, staff, trustees and alumni in Africa and around the world—is in prayer and intercession on behalf of those already impacted for their healing, those in mourning for their consolation and all nations, that God will intervene, help us contain this virus and save lives," said Munashe Furusa, vice chancellor and chief executive officer of Africa University.

The Africa University Development Office (AUDO)  is open and fully operational. AUDO staff are available during normal working hours (Mon-Thurs: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. 8am CDT, Fri: 8 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  CDT) to update the university’s friends and stakeholders and address its institutional advancement priorities.

The move to “remote work” by the AUDO is a temporary measure that currently extends to April 5. It is in line with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC); and the declaration of a public health emergency by health officials in Tennessee. Authorities have stressed that limiting group interaction and the use of large shared spaces are crucial steps in slowing the spread of the virus.


Latest News

Au students working on clean energy

Five Africa University students have completed research on building a biogas digester to produce renewable clean energy for household use in rural communities.

The students, from Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe, are expected to start building the digester when they return to the institution next semester in August. Read more

News Stories

Improving Healthcare Access

Two college students are building an international partnership that they hope will help to fill major gaps in the delivery of primary health care to millions of people on the continent of Africa. Read more

Pender UMC Scholarship

Pender United Methodist Church in Fairfax, Virginia has been investing annually in direct scholarship support for students at Africa University since 2002. When COVID-19 impacted the offering that normally funds the scholarship, members stepped forward to fill the gap. Read more

Archived Articles


Improving Healthcare Access

Two college students are building an international partnership that they hope will help to fill major gaps in the delivery of primary health care to millions of people on the continent of Africa. Read more

Pender UMC Scholarship

Pender United Methodist Church in Fairfax, Virginia has been investing annually in direct scholarship support for students at Africa University since 2002. When COVID-19 impacted the offering that normally funds the scholarship, members stepped forward to fill the gap. Read more

Teaching/Learning to Continue Online

Africa University is moving its teaching, learning and related activities online to ensure that students' academic progress continues uninterrupted. The university ceased normal operations and had its students leave the main campus on March 24 in adherence to a directive closing all colleges and universities, issued by the Government of Zimbabwe on March 19. Read more

Ubuntu Spirit Defines this Moment for AU

In the eight weeks since authorities instituted COVID-19-related stay-at-home orders in Zimbabwe, ubuntu—a core value of community life at Africa University—has been central to the actions of the institution and its students, faculty, and staff. Read more

Generosity and Creativity Unleashed

Thank you to Africa University's friends and supporters for #GivingTuesdayNow gifts totaling $89,356. Your generosity, unleashed through the special appeal on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, is supporting the university's COVID-19 pandemic-related efforts. Read more

2020 Graduates Highlight their Transformation and Gratitude

Happy May Day or International Workers Day, depending on where you are. This day is celebrated with a public holiday throughout much of the world on May 1, and in North America, as Labor Day on September 7, 2020. Read more

AU Ramps Up COVID-19 Response

Africa University's students, faculty and staff are harnessing institutional assets to stay safe, remain in touch and make a difference in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus. Read more

Manging Uncertainity, Lifting Spirits

Practical, day-to-day challenges are certainly part of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The challenges can take their toll, so AU's students and staff are working together to boost morale and counter feelings of anxiety and loneliness. Read more

AU Shifts to Online Classes, but Some Students Remain on Campus

AAfrica University students are adapting to online classes. The institution closed its main campus on March 24 and moved teaching and learning online following a Zimbabwe government directive that shut down all schools, colleges and universities to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Read more

New Women's Dorm Completed

A new dormitory, built with the support of Highland Park United Methodist Church (HPUMC), is now home to more than 130 female students at Africa University. Read more

The Gift of Communication

Without Africa University, Pierre Omadjela doubts he would be where he is today. In Africa, where United Methodism is experiencing phenomenal growth, Pierre’s ministry is essential. Read more

East Ohio Conference Campaign Enters Public Phase

The East Ohio Conference campaign to build and furnish a dormitory for women at Africa University entered its public phase in January 2020, with more than $579,790.00 in gifts and pledges realized towards the goal of $1.5 million. Read more


Support for AU Endures at Berlin Church

At the 62-year-old Berlin-Wittenau United Methodist Church in Germany, Africa University is a beloved mission beyond the local church. Read more

Fighting Her Wars with the Bible

With just seven months in the role of University Chaplain, Rev. Maudy Muchanyereyi says that the assignment still feels like an adventure. Read more

Support for AU Endures at Berlin Church

At the 62-year-old Berlin-Wittenau United Methodist Church in Germany, Africa University is a beloved mission beyond the local church. Read more

Fighting Her Wars with the Bible

With just seven months in the role of University Chaplain, Rev. Maudy Muchanyereyi says that the assignment still feels like an adventure. Read more

Ensuring a Better Future for the Planet

In the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Idai which hit the eastern coast of Africa in March, Zanelle Furusa and students at Africa University are working to ensure a better future for the entire planet. Read more

A Role Model's Toolkit: Focus, Purpose and Faith

Dolorosa Duncan did not set out to become a role model. However, the power of her story and its ability to inspire are undisputable. In January, the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania invited Duncan to speak to its students about professional and personal success. Read more

AU Launches Ingenious Waste Bin Project

In Students and staff at AU's main campus in Zimbabwe are re-purposing used plastic bottles and cans into bins for food waste. The project aims to spark creativity and challenge users to develop their own initiatives to re-use plastic waste. Read more

AU, its Alumni Respond to Cyclone Idai

A fellow pastor and Africa University graduate, Rev. Daniel Mhone, is one of two superintendents overseeing the Malawi Provisional Conference, where Cyclone Idai devastated 15 of the 29 districts. Mhone, (BD 1997), described the south and southeastern parts of the country as hard-hit. Read more

Passion Drove Results of Bishop's Ministry with AU

Bishop J. Lawrence McCleskey helped raise millions of dollars for Africa University and its students and faculty with a passion driven by his deep-seated desire to repay the people who made his own higher education possible. Read more

Holman UMC Celebrates Usahwira Partnership

Holman United Methodist Church has invested more than $50,000 to date in direct scholarships for Africa University students. The gifts from this Los Angeles-based African-American congregation are part of an Usahwira partnership with the university that began in 2007. Read more

Au Students Working on Clean Energy

Five Africa University students have completed research on building a biogas digester to produce renewable clean energy for household use in rural communities. Monalisa Tanatsiwa Chatsama, who is studying Health Services Management, is one of the students working on the biogas digester. Read more

Clergywomen Exceed Scholarship Appeal Goal

The African-American Clergy Women (AACW) of the South Carolina Annual Conference have reached beyond themselves to sponsor a one-year direct scholarship for a student at Africa University. Read more

Congressman Clyburn, Speaker at AU Gala

South Carolinians turned out to hear Congressman James E. “Jim” Clyburn speak at 3rd “Evening of Elegance Scholarship Gala and Silent Auction” for Africa University on March 9 in Sumter, SC. Read more


It's All About the Future, says AU Benefactor

Remembering her two-year stint in the Peace Corps 50 years ago, the Rev. Gaye G. Benson, now 74, decided it would be fun to visit Chile again. She started a travel fund, but God had another plan for her $6,000: Give it to Africa University. So, she did. Read more

Legacy Society Inducts 21 New Members

Twenty-one new members were inducted into the Richard E. “Dick” Reeves Legacy Society and two current members were recognized for having made second planned gifts to Africa University. Among them was Rev. Gérard Nsabimana, the first AU graduate to be inducted. Read more

Educators Gifts are Rooted in Their Stories and Vocation

When Ann and Morris Taber first ventured onto the campus in rural Zimbabwe, they were already Africa University supporters. However, that 1997 visit was the start of a partnership to which they would commit their time, energy and personal resources for the next 20 years. Read More

Africa University pilots HIV self-testing

The Africa University HIV Self Testing project — the first to be conducted at a United Methodist institution in the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area — was made possible by the donation of 750 testing kits from OraSure Technologies Pacific Biotech Company. Funding came from the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries through the episcopal area’s health board. Read More

Strong Results for The Campaign for AU

The Campaign for Africa University—an ongoing effort to raise $50 million to enhance teaching and research, campus infrastructure, and student access through scholarships—continues to post strong results. The campaign has raised more than $41.5 million in cash and pledges, about 82 percent of the goal, as of August 31st. Read More

Bishop Visits AU Center She Helped Build

Iowa Bishop Laurie Haller visited Africa University to see the Ubuntu Center, the final product of a $500,000 fundraising campaign she led while a district superintendent in Michigan. Read More

Bishop Mande is first AU Grad to Chair University's Board

Bishop Mande Muyombo, already the first Africa University graduate elected as bishop, is now the first graduate to chair the school’s board of directors. Read More

Goddard-Johnson Chair Fully Endowed

The fully-endowed Goddard-Johnson Chair in Christian Education at Africa University is now a reality, thanks to the unwavering generosity of hundreds of dedicated individuals. The campaign to endow a professorship honoring Carrie Lou Goddard and Ethel Johnson began in March 1999. The campaign goal—an endowment fund of $500,000—took nearly 20 years to achieve. Read more

The Dodge Family Love Affair

It made perfect sense that Dr. Ed Dodge would recommend his family go on a climb of Mt. Chiremba in Zimbabwe. The view from Mt. Chiremba was magnificent, and so was the family’s historic sojourn to Zimbabwe. After all, it was a call to Africa that began what is now 80-year love affair.Read more

Au students working on clean energy

Five Africa University students have completed research on building a biogas digester to produce renewable clean energy for household use in rural communities.

The students, from Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe, are expected to start building the digester when they return to the institution next semester in August. Read more

Pender UMC: Faithfully Impacting the World

Twenty-five-year-old Astewale Ayaleneh is a first-generation college student from Ethiopia. He’s also the ninth student to attend Africa University with scholarship support from Pender United Methodist Church. In a recent letter to the Fairfax, VA-based congregation, Astewale wrote about the experience. Read more

Strengthening Church Unity in Burundi

A special Burundi Annual Conference session, held Feb. 5-7 in Gitega, sealed the deal on coveted and elusive unity for United Methodists in this East African nation. For 12 years, the church in Burundi had two centers of power. Two factions had contended for control of church affairs since the death of Bishop Alfred J. Ndoricimpa in 2005. Read more

AU's Top Fundraiser Endows Scholarship

Growing up on a small farm in South Carolina, James H. “Jim” Salley never dreamed of becoming the top fundraiser for Africa University. Nor did he expect to give more than $130,000 to establish an endowed scholarship to honor his parents — Marie and James Salley — and ensure exemplary education for students from across Africa. Read more


Cascade UMC 2018 Visit

Cascade United Methodist Church is planning a 2018 visit to Africa University as part of its effort to enhance support for the institution. Cascade UMC is the fourth-largest African-American congregation in the denomination, with roots in the Atlanta-College Park District that date back to 1926. The church’s senior pastor, Rev. Dr. Kevin R. Murriel, describes the upcoming visit as connectional and exploratory. Read more

Alumna Heads IAAS

Tafadzwa Anne-Marie Dzinoreva, the World President of the International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences (IAAS) for 2017-2018, can’t resist an opportunity to inspire and equip others for change. Her journey to the helm of one of the largest student organizations in the world began in 2014, with a study-abroad placement. Read more

i5 Hub Opens

The i5 Hub at Africa University allows innovators to brainstorm, develop ideas, copyright or patent, and pitch their ideas to industry partners. It is a first for universities in Zimbabwe and one of only 16 academic institution-led innovation hubs in Africa. The i5 Hub at Africa University supports ideation, incubation, innovation, intellectual property, and industrialization. Read more

New Theology Institute

An anonymous gift will support the establishment of an institute of Theology and Religious Studies at Africa University. The gift is one of the outcomes of a meeting of the AU Taskforce on Theology and Pastoral Studies that took place in Atlanta in mid-July. The taskforce envisions the institute as a center for work that is strategic, culturally relevant, and effective to the disciple-making mission of The United Methodist Church. Read more

Church Generates Gift with Loose Change

It is not customary to think about loose change as lifechanging, but it can be. Gathered together, coins can make quite the difference, as the members of Sandpoint Community United Methodist Church have found. The Seattle-based church made a gift of $500 to Africa University in honor of its 25th anniversary. The gift is the result of one month’s change collection. Read more

BWC Support Continues

A 30-member delegation from the Baltimore Washington Conference (BWC), led by Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, visited the Africa University campus in early July to participate in the biennial Zimbabwe Episcopal Area-BWC Pastors School. While there, Bishop Easterling presented the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Munashe Furusa, with a gift of $8,000 to help advance the mission and work of the institution.

$1M Louisiana Conference Gift

Louisiana United Methodists are celebrating the successful completion of a $1 million campaign for Africa University. A June 9th presentation at the annual conference gathering in Shreveport marked the close of an effort that began more than 11 years ago. The final installment on the conference’s pledge and interest income of $97,687.00 on previous installments, put the campaign over the top. Read more

Local Church Shares its Blessings with AU

A California-Nevada Conference congregation is giving more than a tithe (tenth) from the $1.5 million in proceeds received from the sale of property the church owned. The total gift to the California-Nevada Conference from Watsonville First United Methodist Church is $200,000, with $100,000 benefiting Africa University. Read more

HPUMC Invests $2M

A gift of $2 million from Highland Park United Methodist Church (HPUMC) in Dallas, TX will fund a new student union facility at Africa University. The announcement was made on behalf of HPUMC and its senior pastor, Rev. Paul Rasmussen, by Mrs. Lisa Tichenor, her husband, Mr. McHenry Tichenor, and a family friend, Ms. Mary (Mimi) Jacobie. The Tichenors presented the gift from their home church during a formal celebration of the university’s 25th anniversary on March 25th. Read more

Farm feeds multitudes

Happy animals, abundant crops on the Africa University farm help make the United Methodist university self-sustaining. The agricultural department was one of the first two faculties established in 1992. It’s not just the Africa University students who learn farming techniques here. The teaching farm is open to the community and other universities. Read more

AU and Claflin U Sign MOU

Africa University and Claflin University are strengthening ties and expanding their collaboration. The two institutions signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on March 21. The agreement formalizes ongoing cooperation on research and academic program delivery as well as student and faculty exchanges. The signing took place on Africa University’s campus during the formal celebration of its 25th anniversary. Read more

Africa University Celebrates 25 years

Hundreds gathered at United Methodist Africa University on March 25 to celebrate its 25th anniversary. There were gifts and memories as supporters looked back over a quarter of a century, but there was a lot more looking forward. Read more

Shaping Africa - Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Africa University is continually evolving. In October 2016, the university emerged from a period of self-study and realignment with a new, three college academic structure and new programs aimed at reinforcing its position as a university of choice on the African continent. Read more

AUF Support Remains Strong

Support for Africa University continues to grow among the local congregations of The United Methodist Church, (UMC). In 2016, the Africa University Fund (AUF) apportionment was number one among the seven general church funds. Read more

Building the Future

The African bishops of The United Methodist Church (above) made their first collective financial contribution to Africa University in 2010, funding construction of a staff house. Ongoing contributions from the bishops include church-wide advocacy, involvement in university governance and student recruitment. Read more

Secular Partnerships

Africa University is attracting new friends and partners beyond the global United Methodist Church. The university’s newest partnership is with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The collaboration is part of the UNICEF’s bid to invest more in the health, education and protection of Africa’s most vulnerable residents. Read more

Los Altos UMC: Impact and Inspiration

Since 2008, the Los Altos UMC Africa Student Education Fund has provided tuition support for at least 10 women to study each year. The congregation has invested more than $325,000 in scholarships to date and helped 29 women to graduate from Africa University. Read more


Debate Team at WUDC

Africa University’s Debate, Speech and Drama Society (DSDS) is ending 2016 with a bid for a world title. Known as the “Mighty Fosters”, the Africa University team is participating in the World University Debating Championships (WUDC), taking place from December 29 – January 3 in The Hague, Netherlands. Read more

Bells End Visit With Gifts

Two longstanding friends of Africa University—Mr. Robert Bell and Dr. Marion Bell—recently completed their second successful stint as visiting staff at Africa University. The couple returned to Baltimore, Maryland in December. Read more

$50M Campaign for AU

The Campaign for Africa University—a four-year effort to raise $50 million for endowment and capital projects—was unveiled to the public on September 12. The announcement of the public phase of the campaign was made in Cleveland, OH at a banquet celebrating the contributions on longtime Africa University supporter and board member, Dr. Maggie Jackson. Read more

New Academic Structure

The Africa University Board of Directors approved a new academic structure and ten new degree programs at its October 2016 meeting, giving its blessing to an ambitious plan for academic restructuring and growth. Read more

Partnerships Boosts AU's Mission

Africa University’s influence is spreading across the continent and around the globe through partnerships with government agencies, non-profits and corporations — nearly 25 years after The United Methodist Church founded the university in Zimbabwe. Read more

Students Welcomed

Africa University formally welcomed 413 new full-time students at a colorful matriculation ceremony on September 30th. Though unique and surprising to many of this year’s participants, the students described the event as deeply moving. Read more

SC Gala Raises Funds for Scholarships

The annual event aims to increase awareness of the needs of Africa University students and raise funds for scholarships. It featured a silent auction and keynote address by the associate vice chancellor for institutional advancement for Africa University, Mr. James H. Salley. Read more

California-Nevada Sets New Record in Giving to the AUF

It’s the middle of the financial year and there are already two firsts for the California-Nevada Conference and Africa University to celebrate. California-Nevada has invested 100 percent of its asking to the Africa University Fund (AUF) apportionment. It is also the first annual conference to achieve this milestone for 2016. Read more

AU Leaders Visit Alumni in Mozambique

A gathering of 30 Maputo-based Africa University alumni on June 25th, Mozambique’s Independence Day, was a major highlight of the visit. Discussions with this group centered on strengthening the Mozambique Chapter of the Africa University International Alumni Association. Read more

Dorm, SU Building Refurbished

Contractors have put the finishing touches on two major refurbishment projects at the Africa University campus. Work began in June on the ground level of the Ndorimana Bonaventure building—an area that serves as the Student Union at Africa University and includes a games room and mini convenience store. Read more

Advisors to Meet in Cleveland

The September meetings of the Africa University Board and the Advisory Development Committees are taking place in Cleveland, Ohio this year. The gathering in Cleveland ends with a dinner gala on September 12th, honoring a longstanding board member and chair of the Buildings and Grounds Committee, Dr. Maggie Jackson. Read more

800+ Students Graduate

As the famous Africa University Choir sang “The dream is alive,” graduating students, representing 23 African countries, received their certificates, diplomas and degrees. This was the 22nd graduation ceremony for this United Methodist-related university in its 24 years of existence. Read more

Campaign Ends Early

The Mississippi Conference celebrated the completion of its $1.3 million campaign for Africa University in June, having surpassed its goal six months earlier than planned. The campaign to endow 10 scholarships at Africa University has generated a total of $1,354,769.00 in cash and pledges. Read more

BWC Presents Gift for Sports Complex

The Baltimore-Washington Conference presented a gift $300,000 and celebrated the groundbreaking for a new fitness center at Africa University with the students and staff on June 10. Read more

GC2016 Celebrates Africa University

As the Africa University choir ended the report by bringing a General Conference to its feet, delegates were reminded of the power and potential of a school that, just 36 years ago, was merely a vision. Read more

AU Choir to sing at GC2016

A chamber group of the Africa University Choir, comprised of 15 students and the choir director, will be in Portland, OR for the 2016 General Conference. The group, which arrives on May 12, has a number of scheduled appearances including participation in the Africa University presentation to the General Conference on May 15. Read more

AU Advisors Leave Baltimore "Energized"

Members of the Africa University Advisory Development Committee, (ADC), are describing the progress reports from their spring 2016 meeting as exciting and impressive. Read more

Ubuntu Retreat Center Opens

The 24-room Ubuntu Retreat Center at Africa University is open and it is receiving great guest reviews. Read more


Record Results for Planned Giving Program

Africa University recognized 21 individuals for their generosity and commitment to the institution at the 15th annual Richard E. “Dick” Reeves Legacy Society Dinner, held on September 11th in Nashville, TN. About 120 friends and supporters of the university gathered to remember, honor and induct new members into the society in an evening filled with celebration, thanksgiving and delight. Read more

Attracting Africa's Young Leaders

More than 380 young people participated in the 2015 matriculation ceremony at Africa University (AU), on September 25th. The colorful ceremony is the formal induction and welcome into the campus community for the freshman class of 2015. Read more

Record Numbers for the Class of 2015

On June 13, Africa University awarded degrees to 694 students from 17 African countries. This group was the largest graduating class in the institution’s 23-year history. Read more

Choir Tour Yields Excitement and Support

Over a period of five weeks in May/June, the Africa University Choir worshipped and performed in more than 50 venues in the Mississippi and South Carolina conferences. Fifteen students from six African countries shared their stories, expressed their gratitude for the ongoing United Methodist Church support, and gave audiences a taste of the music, praise and worship traditions of sub-Saharan Africa. Read more

Foundation for evangelism announces new campaign for au

Mutare, Zimbabwe, March 21, 2015—The Foundation for Evangelism has announced that it is launching a campaign with Africa University to endow a professorship in the Faculty of  Theology. The chair, which is to be endowed at the $1.5M level, would be named for John W. Z. Kurewa, the first vice chancellor of the university, who has served as the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Africa University since 2000.

Four members of the foundation's board of directors—its chairman, Mr. Lawrence Klemann; members, Ms. Mary Brooke Casad and Dr. Stephen Gunter; and its president, Ms. Jane Wood—were present in Zimbabwe for the inauguration of the university's fourth vice chancellor, Prof. Munashe Furusa. The foundation's announcement was the highlight of the inaugural dinner, held on March 21st.

Africa University's new leader: 'Right kind of role model'

Africa University’s vice chancellor has “a rags-to-riches story” as a first-generation college graduate, said the keynote speaker at the inauguration of Munashe Furusa, the United Methodist-related university’s new leader.

“It is a rags-to-riches story when no one in your family has done it and you reach the top of the university,” said Tawana Kupe, deputy vice chancellor at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa. Kupe was a mentor when Furusa was a student at the University of Zimbabwe. Read more

campus visit exceeds expectations

Ask the members of Holman United Methodist Church about their December 2014 trip to the AU campus, and you’ll immediately notice their excitement.

A 24-person delegation made the trip to Mutare, Zimbabwe. The group was led by Rev. Kelvin Sauls, the senior pastor of the Los Angeles-based congregation, and Rev. Judi Wortham- Sauls. Their aim for the trip was to build faith, broaden horizons and invite congregants to ‘be hope’ wherever they find themselves. The group included many persons who have been investing in AU for a very long time.

“The visit to AU really exceeded any expectations that I may have had,” said Mrs. Wilma Pinder, a retired lawyer and former college lecturer. Now Mrs. Pinder and her husband, Dr. Frank E. Pinder III, a psychiatrist, are talking about the possibility of going back as short-term, visiting professors. The Pinders were impressed by the well-maintained and inviting nature of the campus as well as the diversity of the students.

Sandrel and Edward Terry with students on the campus.“To get there and experience so many nations under one umbrella really was an exciting situation,” said Mrs. Pinder. “It allows for learning, sharing, personal growth and networking that is unique.”

After spending time in a very frank and wide-ranging dialogue with more than 100 students, Rev. Sauls felt buoyed by the students’ commitment to pursuing stability and prosperity for Africa.

“We could see how AU is building these young people’s faith in God, in themselves, and in the continent,” said Sauls. “So many of them come from challenging situations that have likely shaken their faith in governments and institutions. Yet there is a sense of hope the students have…a conviction that if you dream it, you can work, persevere, and achieve it.”

Wilma Pinder echoed this view. “We will see every dollar we invest in AU multiplied a thousand times in terms of the returns,” she said.

Linda Fuller, a retired businessperson, was impressed to find that young people who had never travelled outside their neighborhoods or countries before coming to Africa University, are embracing the institution’s pan-African ethos and moving forward with a hopeful and unified vision for the continent. Fuller described the experience on campus as “wonderful”.

Since their return from Africa, members of the group have thrown themselves into organizing Holman UMC’s annual Valentine’s Day fundraiser for scholarship funds to support AU students.

Alumna and Holman UMC scholarship beneficiary, Elaine Sauls, with Dr. Edward Terry.While the group was in South Africa, they met Elaine Sauls, a Holman UMC scholarship beneficiary from 2007 through 2009. Sauls, who grew up in Soweto, graduated from AU in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts (Education) degree. She is now teaching at an elementary school in her home community.

“She is very interesting and very appreciative of what we had done for her,” said Dr. Edward Terry, a member of Holman UMC who serves with Wilma Pinder and others on the church’s Africa University Committee.

In August 2015, Holman UMC hopes to accompany a new student on his or her college journey by providing another scholarship for undergraduate studies at Africa University.

ELMA Foundation Extends Challenge Grant to June 30th, 2015

Africa University has an additional six months to close a gap of $138K+ in gifts and reach its goal of $500,000 raised from African donors.

Launched on March 1st, 2013, the goal of the ELMA Challenge Grant Appeal, “Africans for AU”, is $500,000 in gifts from qualified African donors. It was initially scheduled to end in June 2014, but ELMA has extended the challenge period to June, 30th, 2015.

The extension gives AU the chance to bring in an additional $138K+ in gifts from those who benefit most—African families, churches, businesses and organizations.

“The beauty of the ELMA Foundation’s Challenge Grant is that it allows the institution’s primary stakeholders—graduates and local and regional constituents—to invest annually in the stability of the university,” said Mr. James H. Salley, the associate vice chancellor for institutional advancement.

“It enables Africa University to build capacity and provides an annual fund that is so critical to the bottom line of the university’s budget,” said Salley.

Every penny raised and vetted as a gift from an African donor is being matched by the ELMA Foundation. Audited gift receipts, totaling $361,433.79 to date, have already been matched. Gifts have come from a wide array of university stakeholders and friends, including alumni, students, faculty, staff, trustees, and United Methodist churches in Africa. African businesses, institutions and non-governmental organizations, as well as prominent individuals, have responded very generously, contributing more than 65% of the total amount raised so far.

Currently, the university needs $138,566.21 from African donors to reach its goal of $500K, but it hopes to go over the top on this appeal. 

Gifts to the “Africans for AU”/ELMA Challenge Grant Appeal can be made online via credit card at Or you can mail your check, made out to ‘Africa University’, to the Africa University Development Office, P O Box 340007, Nashville, TN 37203-0007. In Zimbabwe, please contact the Bursar/CFO, Ms. Irene Chibanda, (Tel: +263 20 60075 or +263 772 137 009), for directions regarding donation made by check or through ETFs.

Highland Park and Church of the Resurrection Leaders Visit AU

The leaders of two large and influential United Methodist churches in the U.S. spent a week (8-13 February) at the Africa University campus in Mutare, Zimbabwe, learning more about the institutions contributions and challenges. Read more



Board approval has cleared the way for the implementation of a PhD program in Peace, Leadership, Governance and Development at Africa University.

Members of the AU Board of Directors approved the university’s first PhD program at their October 2014 meeting. The program targets the more than 300 graduates who currently hold master’s degrees from the university’s flagship Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance, (IPLG), as well as policy makers, mediators and leaders from across sub-Saharan Africa.

“The integrated nature of the PhD program combines course work and evidence-based research (and) stands to serve Africa by reminding practitioners, scholars and students, that the drive for sustainable peace should be anchored on the vital priority of human development, peace and stability; and democratic governance and ethical leadership,” said Dr. Pamela Machakanja, the institute’s director.

The program is currently being reviewed for accreditation by the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE). Once accredited, the university plans an initial pilot phase of two years. About five students will be enrolled each year, beginning in 2016.

AU named best by business leaders

Africa University is the 2014 winner of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, (ZNCC), Best Human Resource Development/Contributing to Business Award. Read more  

2014 graduates express thanks

view.image?Following the June 7th graduation ceremony at Africa University, the narrative of this year's graduates was one of gratitude and resolve. Read more