University of Zambia Vice Chancellor Professor Luke Evuta Mumba says honorary degrees are not awarded as a mere decoration but a serious consideration of one’s contribution to the development of humankind.

And George Sokoto who was on Monday awarded an honorary degree attributed his life success to the love and support from his family.

George Sokota has been an accomplished professional accountant for more than 42 years.

Speaking during the 47th graduation ceremony at the University of Zambia Mumba UNZA was proud to have produced thousands of graduates who are in every sector of society.

“Most of our graduates who have gone to pursue further studies at institutions outside our university have excelled. The rigour of the University of Zambia academic practices beams in our graduates through their resulting hard work, discipline and high achieving spirit wherever they go. Our over 40, 000 alumni are present in every sector of our economy, they are present in various markets globally too. They have gone on to become the leading scientists, doctors, administrators, lawyers, entrepreneurs, business executives and political leaders. As a university of choice in this country, we lead the nation in the provision of the world class research and teaching. Our award of honorary degrees to distinguished figures reflects and sustains our reputation as an important centre of learning internationally,” Mumba said.

“For this reason, we have stood by the ideals of advancing quality over quantity. To us, its not the number of award recipients that matter but the quality of such persons to service and excellence. It is because of our position in society and world of academia at large that we have chosen not to award honorary degrees as a mere decoration. Before an honorary is conferred with the degree, our university takes into account, their deserving status of the same.”

And Mumba said honorary degree recipients were expected to contribute to the well being of humanity.

“We seriously and meticulously consider all the contributions one has made to the development of humankind through their harnessing of natural resources, human resources and all other forms of resources. The ability of recipients to make contributions to the well being of humanity is but just one aspect that we consider,” said Mumba.

“Mr Sokota is one of the very few Zambians who have reached unprecedented levels in the area of business management and audit and the practice of accountancy. His contributions to the accounting profession, the creation of the Zambia Centre for Accountancy, the Zambia Revenue Authority, Zambia Wildlife authority and many other accomplishments are outstanding contributions to national building. The University of Zambia is currently in the process of developing a more concerned recognition platform through which such high achieving individuals will be recognised. We intend to make these awards more regular than has been in the case in the past.”

And Sokota said family was the key to success.

“You cannot succeed without family love. Not only was my father a politician but he was also a committed educationist. He educated his children, that education was the means to the end. Failure in educational performance in our family meant almost instant banishment. I quickly learnt that hard work at school was the sure way of securing my accommodation in our home. Commitment, hard work and focus to the task at hand was imprinted into our family values very early,” said Sokota.