About AME University

It is evident that the history of the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU) is still being written. The university was founded by Bishop C. Garnett Henning, Sr., the 112th Elected and Consecrated Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) and the 26th Bishop of the 14th Episcopal District.

This vision was an actualization of the dream of the 8th Bishop of the 14th Episcopal District, the Rt. Rev. William Sampson Brooks. Rev. Brooks’ plan to transform Monrovia College and Industrial Training School into a four year degree-granting institution did not materialize during his tenure; however, it did come to fruition when Bishop C. Garnett Henning, Sr. opened the doors of the African Methodist Episcopal University in 1995.

Dr. Louise C. York was President of Monrovia College when, in early 1993, with the expressed desire of Bishop Garnett Henning, the Monrovia College Board of Trustees approved a recommendation from the Monrovia College administration to develop a four year degree college in keeping with the college’s original charter of 1928. The recommendation was later endorsed by the Board of Directors of the Liberia Annual Conference.

Delegates at the Annual Conference proposed that development of a four year college become a project of the 14th Episcopal District of the AME Church comprising Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, La Cote D’Ivoire, Togo/Benin, and Liberia. Accordingly, the establishment of the college became part of the resolution taken to the First District Planning Meeting held in Accra, Ghana, from November 16-19, 1993, presided over by Bishop Henning.  The resolution was unanimously approved and all funds for development within the district were channeled toward this project. This resolution was later ratified by the Liberia Annual Conference at Susan Brooks AME Church with Bishop Henning presiding.

On March 28, 1994, Bishop Garnett Henning appointed an interim administration of the AME Church University comprised of M. Wilkins Wright, G.H. Lincoln Steward and Rev. E. Topo Johnson. Later, Mr. J. Edmund Chenoweth, Sr. was named Liaison and made responsible for coordinating the administrative office. The Interim Leadership Team was charged with laying the necessary groundwork for opening the four year degree-granting institution; and on November 12, 1994, the Selection Committee submitted its initial report comprised of an introduction and twelve activities. Critical areas included ensuring that the legal and educational requirements for the establishment of the college be met, a curriculum developed, the selection process for the president, vice president, teachers and staff put in place, a budget prepared and tuition rates recommended.

In April 1995, the Interim Administration submitted its final report, which was approved by the Rt. Rev. C. Garnett Henning, Sr., and endorsed by the Liberian Annual Conference.

In May 1995, Dr. Louise C. York, who had served Monrovia College and Industrial Training School for thirty-four unbroken years, with twenty-one years as president, was named the first President of the African Methodist Episcopal University and subsequently inaugurated on June 6, 1995. Rev. David R. Daniels, Jr. Pastor of Eliza Turner Memorial AME Church played a pivotal role in securing the Charter of AMEU which was approved on February 28, 1996, and published by authority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Monrovia, Liberia on January 17, 1997. Article I of the Charter: CREATION OF A UNIVERSITY, simply states, “There is hereby created a post-secondary, degree-granting institution of higher learning; which is hereby made a legal and corporate body with perpetual succession, owned by the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church of Liberia, under the governance of the Board of Trustees of the University, with name, objective, rights and prerogatives as hereinafter set forth. The University shall be perpetually maintained in this Republic for the education of the people of this and of other countries, and for all who seek its privileges.”

Today, AMEU is centrally located in the nation’s capital, Monrovia. It is a private church-related co-educational four year degree-granting institution. Undergraduate programs are offered in three colleges: Bryant Theological Seminary, Business and Public Administration, and Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

Bryant Theological Seminary, the first College of the AMEU system, was founded on April 10, 1992, by the then Rev. David R. Daniels, Jr., Pastor of Eliza Turner Memorial AME Church, with the help of a Ministerial Committee organized by Rev, Daniels. The vision of the seminary school was the result of Bishop John Richard Bryant’s and Rev. Cecelia Williams Bryant’s desire to train AME Church pastors in the Liberia Annual Conference.

With the three colleges identified and students selected, AMEU was slated to open in April 1996. However, Liberia was embroiled in a devastating civil war. As hostilities grew, Dr. York left the country. When calm returned, Dr. Henry Kwekwe, Vice President for Administration, was appointed Acting President in the absence of Dr. York. During his six month tenure as Acting President, the university officially opened and classes began. By July 2, 1996, Bishop Adam Jefferson Richardson, Jr. was the 27th Presiding Prelate of the 14th Episcopal District and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of AMEU; and, in October 1997, Dr. York resumed her position as President of AMEU. In Dr. York’s second year as President, the university had 953 students; and, by academic year 1999-2000, the student population was over 1,000. Dr. York hooded the first graduates from the Bryant Theological Seminary on March 17, 1999. During Dr. York’s tenure, in its quest for academic excellence, the 14th Episcopal District of AME Church and the Liberian Annual Conference donated six (6) buildings, including the Monrovia College building to the University.

As part of the legacy of Bishop Adams Jefferson Richardson, during the 110th session of the Liberian Annual Conference held March 22-26, 2000, the Jordan Agricultural Institute was brought under the administrative and programmatic arms of AMEU.

In July 2000 Bishop Richard Franklin Norris was elected the 28th Bishop of the 14th Episcopal District. The buildings that the Liberia Annual Conference had turned over to AMEU were being used as classrooms and administrative offices. As Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Bishop Norris saw the need to further expand the university’s infrastructure; however, with Liberia emerging from a civil war in 2003, funds were lacking and revenue was still not readily available. Renovations on the three-story Monrovia College building were halted.

In April 2004, when Dr. York left for the United States for medical check-up and to attend the AMEC General Conference, Honorable Edward Forh, the Vice President for Administration, was appointed Head of a Management Team to steer the affairs of the University.

A great moment in history took place at the Quadrennial in July 2004. The General Conference elected its first West African Bishop in the person of Bishop David R. Daniels, Jr. the 124th Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the 29th Presiding Prelate of the 14th Episcopal District. Mrs. Irene Moifoi Daniels also became the first West African Episcopal Supervisor. Just as his predecessors, Bishop Daniels would be faced with many challenges, but even greater opportunities for the church and the African Methodist Episcopal University. He was prepared for the task.

Dr. York retired in July 2004; and on September 30, 2004 Honorable Forh was named Acting President for the purpose of the Commencement Convocation. Under Bishop Daniels’ leadership as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of AMEU phenomenal growth became evident. This is reflected through the accounts of the leadership of the University from July 2004 to the present.

From November 1, 2004, to December 31, 2006, Dr. Levi B. Zangai served as the second elected President of AMEU. In 2006 the Monrovia College Building was completed through a grant that Bishop Daniels received from USAID in Monrovia. This six story structure (including a basement) was a shared vision of Bishop and Mrs. Daniels. They saw a “building within a building.” Bishop Daniels communicated this concept to the contractor and what resulted were four stories of classrooms in the center of the building surrounded by corridors with additional classrooms on the outer boundaries. The 6th floor has a 900 seat auditorium with a stage that provides a fantastic view of the City of Monrovia. Upon the recommendation of Bishop Daniels, the former Monrovia College Building was renamed the Hatcher Henning Norris Multi Resource Center.

AMEU became a member of the Association of Liberian Universities in 2006. Memoranda of Understanding were formulated with several U.S. universities as well as a university in Sierra Leone. The student enrollment continued to rise.

After Dr. Zangai resigned in December 2006, an Interim Management Team was appointed in January 2007. Honorable Josephine George Francis served as chairperson. Dr. D. Musuleng Cooper took the helm in April 2007 serving as Acting President for five months as the search for a President continued. Her leadership and administrative skills kept the university academically viable, fiscally sound, and student centered. The search for a President concluded successfully in August 2007 and. Dr. Jean Bell Manning assumed the presidency on September 1, 2007 as the third elected President of AME University.

During Dr. Manning’s administration, September 2007 - June 2013, the university underwent several face lifts. The Student Center, which has a seating capacity of 120, was completed. The Hatcher-Henning-Norris Human Resources Center became the academic hub. It currently houses three computer laboratories, a science laboratory and 48 classrooms.  Also located in The Center are the offices of the deans of the colleges, the offices of department chairpersons and faculty a lounge. The ground floor was transformed into a study hall and student lounge with a seating capacity of 150.

The Louise C. York Palava Hut, constructed in 2008, is a platform for forums, speakers, workshops, debates, and intellectual discourse. It can seat up to 400 persons. The senior class of 2012 restored the flooring of the Palava Hut and it is now conducive to accommodate a variety of events.

Other construction projects were also completed in 2008. Annex II is a three story structure that has been totally renovated to house the Office of Admissions, Records and Registration, Student Affairs, Counseling, Sports Activity and the Student Government Association.
Annex III was renovated to house the offices of Human Resources and Public Relations. The initial endowment of $25,000 that Bishop John Hurst Adams and Dr. Dolly Adams gave in January 2006 grew to over $250,000 by 2008. The Adams continued to give to the endowment and encourage others to help ensure the future of AME University. In June 2012, the endowment had reached $410,000.00.

In 2008 the Richardson-Adams Health Center was completed. The Health Center is one of several visions of Bishop David R. Daniels, Jr. and Supervisor Irene M. Daniels geared toward the fulfillment of one of the 14th Mission Statements, “Administering to the Physical Needs of Mankind.” The Center is located in the heart of Monrovia, and has the potential to serve thousands of underprivileged persons within the surrounding communities.

More recently, The Bryant-Adams-Manning Library was completed in 2010; and dedicated during the twelfth Commencement Convocation week of activities in November 2011; and the university enrollment in fall 2011 was 3,018 students.

At the 49th General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church held July 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee Rev. Clement W. Fugh, Chief Information Officer and Secretary of the AMEC was elected and consecrated as the Church’s 131st Bishop. He was assigned to the 14th Episcopal District and became the District’s 30th Presiding Prelate and concomitantly became the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of AME University. Bishop Fugh’s immediate attention was given to the continual improvement of faculty and staff salaries, assessment of University properties, and student welfare. In addition, the search for the 4th President of AMEU commenced in December 2012 and concluded successfully in April 2013 with the selection of Dr. Joseph T. Isaac who took office July 1, 2013.

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