News and Events
US Ambassador to Uganda Hosts Ceremony Honoring Incoming Pepperdine Freshman
The United States Student Achievers Program (USAP) held a ceremony on June 1 in Kampala, Uganda, to honor Ugandan teenagers who have received full scholarships to attend US colleges, including George Kakuru, who will be attending Pepperdine University this fall. US Ambassador to the Republic of Uganda, Jerry P. Lanier, attended the ceremony, along with representatives from Ugandan schools and the U.S. Mission Uganda, and Kakuru's two fellow USAP students, who will attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the College of Wooster.
Pepperdine School of Law student Lisa Regn is currently doing a summer externship in Uganda and attended the ceremony to welcome Kakuru to Pepperdine. "It was so touching to see George and the other recipients of the awards trying to contain their excitement and smiles as the U.S. Ambassador presented them with their awards," says Regn. "George was so eager to learn as much as he could about Pepperdine and the culture in the U.S. Even though I just met George, I was already so proud of him and his accomplishments. I look forward to seeing him in Malibu!"
"I know he will be a great addition to and thrive at Pepperdine," agrees Jennifer Price, also a student at the law school. "Our group was inspired at his dedication to academics and his courage to attend college in Malibu, when he has never traveled outside of Uganda. Thankfully, he has ten new Pepperdine friends that look forward to showing him around the campus."
To date, Uganda has a total of 15 USAP students who have been admitted to colleges and universities across the country, including Cornell, University of St. Thomas, and now Pepperdine University. The program helps talented, motivated, but economically underprivileged students navigate the lengthy application process, from registering for required standardized tests to selecting schools. The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Mission in Kampala, Uganda sponsors the best and brightest students from Uganda, including Pepperdine's new Ugandan student, Kakuru.
Kakuru was featured earlier this year in Ugandan news outlet The New Vision for outstanding scholarly achievement, saying his teachers at the Uganda Martyrs Secondary School Namugongo inspired him to aim high. "Our teachers did a lot to ensure that we got things right," Kakuru is quoted as saying. His academic achievements were also noted two years ago, when 16-year-old Kakuru was featured on the front page of Uganda's Saturday Vision newspaper.
Jerry P. Lanier is a career diplomat with 26 years of service in the Department of State. Prior to his appointment as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Uganda, Lanier served as the Foreign Policy Advisor for U.S. Africa Command headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. Previously, he was the Director of the Office of Regional and Security Affairs in the Africa Bureau at the State Department. At the State Department, Lanier has served as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, country officer for the Republic of Korea, Legislative Management Officer for Africa, Deputy Director for the Office of West African Affairs, and Deputy Director for the Office Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh Affairs.
For more information, visit the USAP Web site.