Whenever the name “Mary” is mentioned, it rings a particular bell to me because it is the first name of my mother “Mary Wleyonnoh Wesseh,” who passed away many years ago in the Municipal Borough of Kru Town. Believing in reincarnation, I named my first daughter after her. My belief at the time was based on some evidence, as she was born with some scars at the same spot like my late mother and it was very easy to name her.
Unfortunately, my daughter said that was a ‘popular or widely-held name,’ therefore, she preferred to be referred to untraditionally as Wleyonnoh Mary Wesseh or Wleyonnoh M. Wesseh, a name- arrangement she presently holds, instead of the normal name-arrangement of “Mary Wleyonnoh Wesseh.”
Given her dissatisfaction over that, I fruitlessly on many occasions tried to convince her by naming successful women in our society that bear such first name. One of such is Liberian Catholic Sister Mary Laurene Browne, founding President of the Stella Maris Polytechnic University (SMPTU). She was born February 26, 1943 in Gadetarbo Chiefdom, Maryland County to Mr. and Mrs. David Browne.
Incoming Prexy Dalieh takes oath of office
Others were Mary Antoinette Browne Sherman, former president, University of Liberia; the late Mary Brownell, founding Chairman of the Liberian Women Initiative, a women group which is also credited for its role in bringing about the peace and tranquility the country enjoys today after many years of civil conflict.
Sometimes people accuse me of being too chauvinistic when it comes to women issue. Perhaps, this act of chauvinism might be true because of my upbringing as a child, who was reared and bred by my two grandmothers- one in Saye Town and the other in New Kru Town.
Additionally, I later ended up with my late aunt, Elizabeth Welleh Blaye, a retired police officer, until I reached the age of maturity, as we say in law.
Over the weekend, I heard that this great daughter of the land, Sis. Mary Laurene Browne has successfully ended her time at the university and has accordingly been replaced by a new president who was inducted last week during the graduation exercise of the institution.
Upon hearing the end of this successful mission, I decided to do this compliment or accolade in recognition of her selfless, dedicated, committed and numerous services to this country, especially in the field of education.
Notwithstanding, let me say that I am not one of her classroom students, but I consider myself as one of her students through her public education program on RADIO VERITAS. One of the things I admired about that radio program was about basic grammar, pronunciation and expression. Indeed, it was very educative.
One of the projects of the outgoing president Sis. Mary Laurene Browne
As I do this piece, I am in a state of ecstasy because she is leaving the job not because of malfeasant, nonfeasant or ineptitude, as well as corruption, for which many leaders disgracefully leave offices. Thank God that this is not the case of this go-getter of this land, who has also authored many textbooks and publications.
Furthermore, as someone who has been following her activities, the great strive and transformation she has made at the university such as the learning environment and improvement in infrastructures, undisputedly deserve high commendation.
Equally, I am aware that there are others who continue to admire her services in the field of education. One of such is educator Madam Hester Williams Katakaw who named one of her schools in honor of Sister Browne as the “Mary Laurene School of Excellence.”
To Sister Browne, I say well done that good and faithful servant; your footprints on the grounds of education would always be emulated, even, as you are yet to retire completely from this noble field, something that would be rejected with vehemence, as you are still useful in this field, especially at a time the country is still struggling to move its educational system “from worst to best.”
As for the incoming president, let me say that as he takes on the mantle of leadership, he should ensure that the seeds of discipline and high academic standard instituted by his predecessor would germinate to make the institution second to none.
It is not a hyperbole to say that the institution is one of the highly respected higher institutions of learning in this country and as such; it behooves the new president to keep that high standard or even move a step forward if need be, as there must be no room for mediocrity.
To Sister Mary Laurene Browne, I say as a Marylander, “TARTOE.”
I Rest My Case.