Prof. Joseph Galgalo: The First Vice Chancellor From Northern Kenya 

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Prof. Joseph Galgalo: The First Vice Chancellor From Northern Kenya 
Prof. Joseph Galgalo former St. Paul's VC Photo/Courtesy

By Prudence Minayo

Prof. Joseph Galgalo served as an associate professor of Theology and Vice Chancellor at St. Paul’s University. Growing up, he did not know that such a profession existed. It was not until he was pursuing “higher education that it dawned on me that I needed to become a professor and maybe something higher,” he told a local daily.  With this appointment, he became the youngest VC in the country at the age of 45 and was also the first person from Northern Kenya to hold such a position. 

“Perhaps not many people would believe that people from Northern part of Kenya would get a chance to run a university, like the opportunity I have,” the VC said during a 2011 interview with The Standard. 

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Here is his story as told by WoK

Education 

For his primary education, he went to Marsabit Boarding School and thereafter proceeded to Marsabit Boys High School. After high school, he trained as a teacher at Machakos Teacher Training College (MTTC). He holds a PHD in Systematic Theology from Cambridge University and Bachelor of Divinity from St. Paul’s University. 

Career 

After his training at MTTC, he worked for the government as a teacher. Three years into the job, he felt he had a calling to become a church minister. He proceeded to join a theological college in Kerugoya where he worked for three years before going to the United States for further studies. 

Prof. Joseph Galgalo joined St. Paul’s University in 2002. 

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In August 2010, the then VC of St. Paul’s University left for Daystar University and the position fell vacant.  Prof. Joseph was installed as the new VC  in 2010 (three years after the institution was chartered by the late retired president Mwai Kibaki). Prof. Galgalo vowed at the time that the university achieved great success during his tenure. 

“I want to make my tenure as successful as possible and to steer the institution to greater heights in provision of quality education, spiritual transformation and research that will positively shape our country,” he said. 

Apart from this, he promised to introduce new degrees in the institution. 

Rumours of being muslim

This position has not come without its own challenges. Immediately after his appointment, rumours started going round that he was a Muslim. This may not be a big deal in other universities but in St. Pauls, it is everything considering the fact that it is an institution based on Christian values. Nonetheless, he went on to lead the institution for the next ten years. But those reports were quashed and he successfully served his tenure. 

In 2020, he bid farewell to St. Paul’s and thanked the university for giving him the chance to be at the helm at one of the best private universities in Kenya. He expressed joy over the fact that he had greatly improved the university. He joined the university when it had only 1,000 students and left when it had 6,700 students. The professor credits his success based on the infrastructure improvement and in the caliber of degree programs offered. 

In his speech, he urged the university to provide support to the incoming VC prof. James Kombo. 

Anglican Church 

Prof. Joseph Galgalo is also an ordained minister in the Anglican Church of Kenya and an honorary Canon of The All Saints Cathedral Church in Nairobi.  In 2020, he was awarded the St. Augustine cross by the archbishop of Canterbury for his services to the Anglican communion.

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