The University of Ghana, popularly known as Legon, is one of the most reputable and distinguished universities in Africa. Since its establishment in 1948, the university has produced notable figures in Ghana and beyond. However, what many may not be aware of is that Legon was founded on masonic values, namely wisdom, strength, and beauty. This article aims to examine why these attributes are crucial to the university’s success.
To begin with, let’s examine what these masonic attributes represent. Wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge and experience to make sound decisions. Strength refers to the capacity to withstand physical and mental pressure. Beauty, in this context, denotes harmony, balance, and proportionality.
It is interesting to note that the university’s hill, where it is located, is called “Legon,” a Ga expression meaning “The Hill of Knowledge.” This name highlights the importance of wisdom that the hill has always represented. In ancient times, the hill served as a secluded and peaceful location for young men to learn the tasks of manhood. Additionally, novices of the local priesthood went through their novitiate to become fully-fledged priests and priestesses. The hill also served as a strategic vantage point from which the movements of the enemy could be surveyed, and effective counter-measures could be taken.
The hill has always been viewed by the Gas not just as a hill of wisdom but also as a tower of strength. During times of conflict, the Ga people would retreat to the top of the hill when hard-pressed, considering it an impregnable bastion. From the sheltered and commanding position afforded by the hill, they could repulse the attack and rout the enemy.
Today, the University of Ghana, Legon, stands on this hill as a testament to its enduring attributes of wisdom, strength, and beauty. The campus has breath-taking buildings that are surrounded by well-maintained gardens, lawns, and trees with blossoms of tropical beauty. The open skies, distant forests, and mountains make for an impressive panorama that showcases beauty in all its glory.
The university’s founders believed that these attributes were fundamental to creating a world-class institution. Wisdom is crucial for academic excellence as it is only through the acquisition of knowledge and experience that one can make significant contributions to society. At Legon, research, critical thinking, and problem-solving are highly emphasized, all of which require wisdom. The university’s motto, “Integri Procedamus,” translates to “Let us proceed with integrity,” emphasising the importance of wisdom in academic pursuits.
Strength is important for resilience and perseverance as the pursuit of knowledge is a challenging task that requires a lot of effort and determination. Legon recognizes that its students and faculty members need to be strong to overcome challenges and achieve their goals. The university’s sports teams are well-known for their exceptional performance, showcasing the physical strength and mental fortitude required for success.
Finally, beauty is crucial for creating an environment that is conducive to learning and growth. At Legon, the physical environment is carefully curated to provide a harmonious and inspiring atmosphere. The architecture, landscaping, and artwork are designed to create a sense of balance and proportion. This attention to detail is not just about aesthetics but also about creating a space that promotes creativity, curiosity, and innovation.
In March 1969, a masonic lodge named “Legon Lodge” was consecrated, 21 years after the founding of the University. This lodge was the 8266th lodge in the roll of lodges of the United Grand Lodge of England. The lodge was set up with the sole purpose of spreading the gentle philosophy of freemasonry embodied in the attributes discussed above to all the alumni and workers of the University. The lodge had the following men of distinction and renown as its first administration:
Justice N.A. Ollenu
Dr. C.O. Easmon,
Hon. G. Marshal
I. Ackom Mensah
Prof. J.K.M. Quartey
Dr. E.A. Badoe
Prof. S. La-Anyane
Dr. C.A. Ackah
Dr. S.A. Banful
Prof. C.E. Fiscian
In conclusion, the masonic attributes of wisdom, strength, and beauty are deeply ingrained in the culture and philosophy of Legon. They are not just empty words or slogans but are fundamental principles that guide the university’s academic pursuits and values. The founders of Legon recognized the importance of these attributes in creating a world-class institution, and their legacy lives on today. Legon continues to produce exceptional graduates who have the knowledge, strength, and creativity to make significant contributions to society,
The writer, Raymond Acquah is an alumnus of the University of Ghana and the current inner guard of Legon Lodge 8266!
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