Ambassador Sikwibele inspecting the MJ Kelly lecture theatre

Renovation works at the former New Lecture Theatre (NELT) in the School of Education, which was renamed after the late Prof. Michael J. Kelly as a way of honouring his meritorious contribution to the development of education in Zambia, have reached an advanced stage.

Inspecting the renovation works being sponsored by the Irish Embassy, Irish Ambassador to Zambia, Ms. Bronagh Carr, said the Irish Government and the family of the late Prof. Kelly are grateful for the recognition the University of Zambia (UNZA) has given him.

Ambassador Carr said she appreciated what the university had done and that the embassy was delighted to be associated with the Michael J. Kelly Lecture Theatre renovations. "However, what is more, important for us is to plan how this name will live on beyond the lecture theatre," she said.

Ambassador Carr requested that the university management and the School of Education in particular identify activities that Prof. Kelly liked so that they could be sustained as part of his legacy.

And UNZA Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Anne Sikwibele, said the university was grateful for the gesture the embassy had taken to renovate the Michael J. Kelly Lecture Theatre. Prof Sikwibele said that naming the former New Lecture Theatre (NELT) after Prof. Michael J. Kelly was the best decision the university could have made because it would help preserve memories of his contributions to the growth of education in Zambia.

Meanwhile, Dr. Bentry Nkhata, Dean of the School of Education, stated that Prof. Kelly was influential in the growth of the Department of Education Administration and Policy Studies (EAP) and that the department intended to start publishing the EAP Journal as well as the Zambia Teacher's Magazine in his honour.

In addition, Prof. Gift Masaiti, who is a lecturer in the School of Education, said that among other activities, the school was planning to uphold Prof. Kelly’s legacy by introducing awards for both members of staff and students, as well as opening a Michael J. Kelly Research Centre.

And giving a vote of thanks, Jacob Longwe, a student in the School of Education, thanked the Irish Government for the support and commitment to ensure that Prof. Kelly’s legacy lives on. Mr. Longwe appealed to the ambassador to consider introducing a Professor Michael J. Kelly scholarship for vulnerable students as well as facilitating student exchange programmes for the School of Education.