“Cui Multum Datum” –Legon Hall Motto
The membership of the Hall, both senior and junior originally was determined under the College arrangements. This later changed with the de-linking of the residential system from admissions, and students became free to select the Halls they wished to be attached to. Within the framework, however, the Hall Council is empowered to exercise responsibility for the maintenance and development of the Hall as a corporate community, including a special responsibility for the wellbeing and discipline of its junior members.
The members of the Hall are its Fellows (the senior members) and its persons in status pupillari (junior members). Every University College officer is assigned as a Fellow to one of the Halls and every freshman, on first admission to the University College is assigned to a Hall as a junior member. The Senior Common Room is the whole body of the Fellows and the Junior Common Room is the whole body of persons in status pupillari. The Statutes of the Hall allow members outside the University community to be elected as Honorary Fellows following a laid down procedure.
Since its inauguration, two new dimensions have been added to Legon Hall. The Hall which started as an all-male hall is now a mixed hall which at one time had about 40% of the inmates being female. Legon Hall originally nicknamed as the Hall of Gentlemen must find a new more appropriate name for itself. The second aspect was the formation of Alumni Association which consists of all old students of the Hall. In the past, the Alumni Association used to be a potent force in the affairs of the Hall. The Alumni Association used to meet monthly at Legon Hall every second Friday of the month.
Almost 16 years ago in the year, 2002, Legon Hall celebrated its 50 years anniversary with mighty funfair which brought together many men of timbre and calibre who owed allegiance to the Hall as the Legon Hall Alumni Association. As part of the 50 year anniversary celebrations, an elaborate programme was planned and implemented. The anniversary programme was launched at the Country Kitchen Restaurant on September 13, 2002 by Mr. J.A. Kwofie, a former Inspector-General of Police and Ambassador who was also a Legon Hall alumnus. As part of the anniversary celebrations, a memorable home coming and alumni congress took place between Friday, December 21, 2002 and Sunday, December 23, 2002 on Legon campus with an awards dinner dance and fund raising function held on Saturday, December 22, 2002.
The roll call of the people who have passed through Legon Hall resembles a list of “who is who” in this country. If after just 16 years the Hall must relaunch her Alumni Association to attract old sons and daughters back home again, it speaks volumes of the fact that in this part of the world, many of the educated people pass through a motto like “Cui Multum Datum” while the motto does not pass through them. Legon Hall should give thanks to indefatigable product like Kwaku Mensah Bonsu and some dedicated colleagues who have sacrificed time and resources to hold high the spirit of service to a notable course.
According to the records of the Hall, the first Hall Master was Mr. G. I. Smith while among the pioneer students, is Mr. J. H. Mensah, the former Senior Minister in President Kufuor's NPP administration, who is listed as being in residence between 1952 – 1954. Incidentally, Mr. J. H. Mensah was the first President of the Junior Common Room (JCR). Mr. J. H. Mensah's contemporary includes the former Speaker of the national assembly, the late Peter Ala Adjetey who at one time made a generous financial contribution to the Hall.
Legon Hall like all other residential halls on our university campuses has gone through many challenges. When the original idea of the residential facility system was conceived and implemented, a student of Legon Hall had a room to himself. However at one time, officially, five students occupied a room. The unofficial occupancy which accommodated “perchers” could be anybody's guess. To quote Mr. Kwaku Kyei, the former Inspector-General of Police, and former President of Mensah Sarbah Hall Alumni Association: “students now fight for beds instead of rooms”.
At that time, I believe the situation was even worse than what Mr. Kwaku Kyei made of it as students competed for space in their beds with their luggage. The situation is better now with the construction of more hostels on the campus and the decongestion exercise carried out. But the good old days are gone and in our under-developed state, every generation will talk of the “good old days” as we get poorer and poorer, with the deterioration in our infrastructural facilities and mindset and attitude.
Despite the financial cost involved, students' residential facilities offered opportunities for people from different parts of the country to know each other and therefore helped in nation building. The dining hall and cafeteria systems as well as the Junior Common Room concept helped students not to just pass through the universities but also ensured that the universities passed through them. Without the residential facilities, a student can go through a university without any attachment whatsoever for any of the structures, institutions and culture of the university.
It is hoped that the relaunching of the Legon Hall Alumni Association will bring back the good old days to the Hall; with the alumni showing greater commitment not only to the Hall but University of Ghana as well. Let the motto of the Hall resound very loudly in our ears: “Cui Multum Datum”.
E-mail: [email protected]
By Kwame Gyasi