Africa Nazarene University: History
In the early 1980’s, the challenges that the Nazarene Church saw in Africa demanded setting up a training facility for the clergy. As a result, the Church set out to establish an institution of higher education. During the Africa-wide search for a choice location, the Kenya 1985 Universities Act--provision for establishment of a private university--provided a ready answer. In 1985, the General Board of the Church of the Nazarene established an education commission to plan for the development of Nazarene education facilities around the world. This move set the stage for the Kenya venture. The church leaders began negotiations with the Commission for Higher Education in Kenya to establish a degree-awarding institution. After consideration of the Church’s request, the Commission advised the church to open a liberal arts institution. The foundation for the development of Africa Nazarene University was thus laid.
In 1987, from the middle of the great Maasai savannah, with giraffes and antelopes grazing in the background, Dr. Harmon Schmelzenbach envisaged an expansive Christian university for students from different parts of the continent—Africa Nazarene University. Seventy acres of land were bought, and preparations for its development were made. The Commission for Higher Education advised that a Board of Trustees be established to guarantee the autonomy of the University from the State or another body. The Board of Trustees was registered in January 1990.
The next major step in ANU’s development was the preparation of a proposal for the University, which was done by a sub-committee of eight prominent Kenyan professors headed by Prof. John Marangu. After three years of hard work, development, discussion and revision, the Letter of Interim Authority to operate a University was granted by the Commission for Higher Education. On the 23rd of November 1993, ANU became the first institution to seek a charter under the new University Act.
With Dr. Martha John as the Vice-Chancellor, ANU opened its doors in August 1994 with 63 pioneer students taking courses in Theology, Business Administration, and a Master of Arts degree in Religion. In August 1995, a Bachelor of Science Degree programme in Computer Science was added with 42 students.
Prof. Leah T. Marangu was installed as the Vice-Chancellor in January 1997. Under her inspiring and able leadership, student enrollment increased from the pioneer class of 63 in 1994 to around 700 from 18 countries in 2004. The University was awarded a Charter by the Government of Kenya on the 8th of October 2002.
Since the beginning, ANU has endeavored to fulfill its mission by providing quality education, facilitating worthwhile activities and guiding students in the values of serving God and mankind. ANU’s first graduation took place in 1998 and by the last graduation ceremony held on 21st May 2004, 459 students, many of whom have established their own enterprises and become employers, have passed through the institution. It is gratifying to note that ANU’s vision of being a light to the people of Africa by providing higher education is being realised through our well-trained graduates who are adequately prepared to face the challenges of their time. We give all the glory to God.