•The new VC takes over from Prof Geoffrey Muluvi who was VC since Seku got a charter in 2013.
• Muluvu’s contract expired in May this year.
Prof Douglas Shitanda took over as the second vice-chancellor of South Eastern Kenya University in Kitui county on Thursday.
Shitanda was unveiled during the 10th graduation of the premier university in Ukambani by the university council chairman Prof David Kikaya who doubled up as the chancellor.
After being introduced to the congregation and being publicly dressed in ceremonial regalia, Prof Shitanda received the university's instruments of power including the logo, mace, seal and a banquet of flowers.
Shitanda takes over from the pioneer VC Prof Geofrey Muluvu, whose contract ended in May. Muluvi served as VC since Seku received a charter in 2013.
Prof Kikaya praised the outgoing VC for outstanding leadership. He said his diligent navigational skills led the university to attain its current enviable heights.
Prof Shitanda has previously headed the Cooperative University of Kenya, Multimedia University of Kenya and Machakos University among other institutions.
During the ceremony presided over by the finance director at the Ministry of Education, Chira Maina, 1,190 graduands were conferred with various degrees and diplomas.
Maina represented the Principal Secretary for Higher Education and Research, Beatrice Inyangala, at the fete at Seku.
Inyangala urged universities to carry out intensive research to develop scientific innovations that address food insecurity in Kenya.
The PS said universities have a duty to help the government find solutions to problems of hunger and water scarcity.
She lamented that the situation was being exacerbated by the vagaries and negative impacts of climate change.
Inyangala said residents of arid and semi arid regions would benefit immensely from science-based research in both agricultural and livestock production as well as finding reliable water solutions.
"We expect our universities to step in the gap and find solutions on food and water insecurity especially in arid and semi arid regions through research and innovation," the PS said.
She at the same time appealed to parents and university students to accept the new funding model, where only extremely needy students will receive 100 per cent funding from the government.
Kitui Deputy Governor Augustine Kanani, who represented Governor Julius Malombe at the event, said the courses offered at Seku in dryland agriculture and life sciences would play a key role in boosting food production and improving livelihoods.
Kanani stated that the county government was partnering with the university for the benefit of local residents, particularly on food and agricultural production and water solutions.