Nyankpala (N/R), March 22, GNA - The Poku Transport Endowment Fund for the University for Development Studies (UDS) on Monday presented Cash awards to five students of the university who excelled in selected programmes of study for 2002 and 2003.
The students, Valentine Akwulpwa Kwoyia, Kissinger Marfoh and Eunice Abdulai Rabiatu, all studying Medicine and Health Sciences and Osman Abubakar and Gifty Sieroo, both students of Agriculture, received one million cedis each.
Professor F.O. Kwami, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Fund presented the awards to the students.
In a speech Prof. Kwami said the late Mr Francis Poku, an industrialist and a philanthropist, instituted the Fund in 1998 in fulfilment of his ambition to make the fruits of his labour benefit society by supplementing government's efforts to provide quality education to students.
He said it was also the desire of Mr Poku to set an example for private organizations, his business colleagues and other individuals to follow in promoting scholarship and excellence in learning at the university level.
"This they should do by recognizing students who have excelled in academic studies and motivating them with cash awards".
Prof. Kwami said: "By creating the endowment fund, Mr Francis Poku has left a legacy behind, which will never pass into oblivion by his demise, but will always be there to his everlasting memory".
"Mr Poku realized his vision in his lifetime and it was gratifying to him to have witnessed so many organizations, industrialists, district assemblies, religious bodies and prominent personalities setting up such education funds to support both brilliant and needy students to obtain education"
Prof. Kwami commended the award winners for their outstanding achievements saying, "you should realize that receiving these awards is not an end in itself. Far more important is their inspirational worth, which should spur you on to greater academic heights".
In an address read for him, Prof. John Kaburise, Vice-Chancellor of the UDS, said the institution of the Fund was the late Mr Poku's contribution towards the development of the University's School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
He noted with satisfaction that since his death, Mr Poku's children and the trustees of the Fund award had continued to sustain it and had even extended it include student award winners of the UDS Faculty of Agriculture.
On behalf of the University Council, the Academic Board, staff and students, he expressed gratitude to the Trustees of the Endowment Fund and said he was confident that the awards would spur the students on to achieve higher academic laurels.
Prof. Kaburise exhorted the award winners to work harder than before, using the awards as a challenge and entreated them to serve as pacesetters.
The Vice-Chancellor said: "It is becoming clear that government alone cannot fund tertiary education. That is why the beneficiaries of tertiary education and users of tertiary products must make some contribution".
"I therefore, appeal to other organizations to emulate the late Mr Poku and dialogue with the university on sponsorship of some aspects of our programmes that are of interest to them".
Dr Hakeem Wemah, Chairman of the UDS Council, who presided over the ceremony, urged the Trustees of the Endowment Fund to continue with the good works of the late Mr Francis Poku to immortalize his name.
Dr Wemah said Northern Ghana was the weakest chain In the development of the country and warned that any development that ignored this situation was bound to fail.
He said: "We need to take a second look at this North/South dichotomy".
Among those present at the ceremony were Mrs Grace Poku, the widow, and two of Mr Poku's children, Dr Kwabena Poku, a medical doctor and Ms. Margaret Poku, a business executive.