Philip Lemon University is located in the center of Lubumbashi city, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The language of instruction is French.
When the original Adventist University of Central Africa (AUCA) at Mudendein, Rwanda, was destroyed due to the 1994 genocide, the Africa-Indian Ocean Division decided to open four sites where the students could continue their academic program. Lukanga University in North East Congo was one of the four sites.1 In 2004, because of the distance and challenges of transportation between Lubumbashi and Lukanga, East Congo Union Mission started a partnership with Lukanga University which facilitated some lecturers from the university to meet selected ministerial students in Lubumbashi. They started with 24 students, six of whom continued and graduated with a Master’s degree from the Adventist University of Africa in Nairobi, Kenya.
At the time of the partnership, some students were sent to the Lukanga main campus. One of them was returning home after he had completed the program. Since he lacked money to facilitate his travel, he opted to walk back to Kolwezi. After six months of travel, he got sick and died before he reached home. He was buried along the way. His wife and children continued the journey through untold difficulties. This tragedy forced the East Congo Union Mission administration to put in place a plan to start a university in their own territory.
Establishing the University
In 2012 a commission was appointed to study the feasibility of establishing a seminary which would prepare the foundation for the university.2 Some lay members joined together and bought property. With the assistance of the East Congo Union Mission, the official documents of ownership were acquired, and with some affiliation with Bugema University (Uganda), classes began. From 2013 to 2014, the Philip Lemon Center held two terms for 22 pastors and laypersons, with Ngili Muloko as the pioneer coordinator3 who was in June 2014 appointed its rector. In November, additional officers of the university were appointed. By June 2015, the rector had gone to Kinshasa to seek state authorization. To make the plan functional, the East Congo Union Mission Executive Committee allotted the buildings formerly used by ADRA to the new university. On October 5, 2014, professors and researchers from Lubumbashi University were invited to the launching of Philip Lemon University.4 The same year, an affiliation arrangement with Bugema University was completed.5
The university carries the name of a former beloved missionary Phillip Lemon. The university offers studies in psychology and education, communication information, business and management, computer sciences, agriculture, and theology. The type of programs offered are “graduate” first level of university studies/associate degrees. The university was granted pre-candidacy status by the Adventist Accrediting Association in 2018.6
The prospects for the success of the young university are high. The national minister in charge of higher education officially authorized Philip Lemon University to be recognized among the private universities in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ngili Muloko Mutombe (2013-2015)
Mulamba Mubyabo (2016-present)
5229 de la Revolution. C/Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo
Minutes of Executive Committee, June 6, 2012, Pastoral Training School commission reported to committee, East Congo Union archives, Lubumbashi, DRC.
Minutes of the Yearend Committee, November 18-19, 2012, East Congo Union Mission archives, Lubumbashi, DRC.
Minutes of Executive Committee, January 2, 2015, East Congo Union Mission archives, Lubumbashi, DRC.
Minutes of Executive Committee, March 27, 2015, East Congo Union Mission archives, Lubumbashi, DRC. “Philip Lemon University,” in Directory of Seventh-day Adventist Colleges and Universities. Silver Spring, MD: Adventist Accrediting Association. Accessed October 23, 2019. https://adventistaccreditingassociation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/directory2017-2018.pdf.
Unless otherwise noted, the information in this article comes from the author’s personal knowledge as the first president of Philip Lemon University from 2013-2015 and a teaching faculty until the present time.↩
Minutes of Executive Committee, June 6, 2012, Pastoral Training School commission reported to committee, East Congo Union archives, Lubumbashi, DRC.↩
Minutes of the Yearend Committee, November 18-19, 2012, East Congo Union Mission archives, Lubumbashi, DRC.↩
Minutes of Executive Committee, January 2, 2015, East Congo Union Mission archives, Lubumbashi, DRC.↩
Minutes of Executive Committee, March 27, 2015, East Congo Union Mission archives, Lubumbashi, DRC.↩
“Philip Lemon University,” in Directory of Seventh-day Adventist Colleges and Universities (Silver Spring, MD: Adventist Accrediting Association, 161, accessed October 23, 2019, https://adventistaccreditingassociation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/directory2017-2018.pdf.↩