Long-Serving Academic Dr. Samuel Siminyu Retires: Fond Farewell from IODEL

The Institute of Open, Distance and E-Learning has bid farewell to one of its longest serving academics, Dr.  Samuel Ndeda Siminyu. This was at a colorful luncheon on March 27, 2024.  Spiced up with music, dance, food, drinks, jokes, laughter, and nostalgic speeches, the party was attended by the institute’s staff, friends, and colleagues of Uncle Sam, as he has been popularly known.

Dr.  Samuel Ndeda Siminyu

Colleagues shared memories of Uncle Sam’s dedication to the job, resilience and mentorship. Speaker after speaker underscored his fatherly approach towards handling of both students and fellow staff. “I remember my first travel abroad was with uncle Sam. We suffered several mishaps such as missing the plane, but he kept claiming me down, saying we would hope that all would be well. Indeed, after one month of being abroad, we returned safely. He was and still is like a father to me,” Mr. Kajumbula Richard said.

Dr. Siminyu was also praised for his mastery of the English language.  “Can it be true that Omuwongo Samwiri has clocked retirement? Samwiri remains my legendary wordsmith! I will greatly miss those positive comments about my grammar, word diction, and synthesis! Samwiri is not only brainy but also well cultured, responsible, respectful, amiable, jovial, warm and polished. I am lucky to have known and interacted with Mzee Mangeni (Sr) who fathered these eminent personalities. Samwiri has been my trusted encyclopedia, and it’s sad that he is retiring at such a young age,” another colleague shared.

Another colleague, Mr Arthur Mugisha also added, “Sam was such a perfectionist that nothing would cross his table with any errors, and he appends a signature. I remember him principally teaching me how to write official documents in his office. I would draft, and then we would write together what he would sign. He has such a moral character that everyone would wish to emulate.”.

“Sam was a father figure to many of us who came as young staff. especially me, who never joined Makerere with anyone holding my hand but my performance. If anything was going astray, he would call you and counsel you instead of reprimanding you. For me, that was perfect leadership. I have learnt quite a lot from him, which makes me stand out in my leadership within and outside the department.”

Uncle Sam, as he is known by many in the department, has mentored many staff on matters of student support, managing DE programs, handling students as coordinators, matters of faith, and personal well-being.

On his part, Dr. Siminyu thanked IODEL for the love and support shown to him over the year and for the beautiful sendoff. He expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to mentor and lead others, and he emphasized the importance of continuous learning and growth in leadership. Dr. Siminyu’s legacy of compassionate leadership will continue to inspire those he has mentored for years to come. His dedication to helping others succeed has left a lasting impact on the department, and his wisdom and guidance will be greatly missed. Dr. Siminyu’s legacy will live on through the countless individuals he has influenced throughout his career. He said that he is confident that his mentees will carry on his values and teachings, making a positive impact on their own leadership journeys.

Speaking during the luncheon, Dr. Banadda Godfrey, a member of the Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme and also a retiree, shared some insight into what one needs to do pre- and post retirement. 

Mr Banadda said it was important for one to save money before retirement. This, he said, should be invested in a fixed deposit account or a unit trust so that one is able to enjoy the interest accrued during retirement.

Dr. Banadda Godfrey, a member of the Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme

He advised Dr. Siminyu to draw up his own retirement plan, which he said would guide him in the utilization of his money.

“You will need to put in place a plan for cash flow and also have an investment plan for your benefits. Look at investment options like bonds and trust funds,” he emphasized.  

Don’t delegate the use of your money or enterprise. Invest in ventures you can supervise effectively. Always adjust to your new status quo. Your lifestyle might need to change, so adjust quickly. Don’t live in denial.”

Mr. Banadda advised Dr. Siminyu to continue socializing and also widen his social networks by joining clubs, visiting friends and family, and engaging in regular exercise. 

“Above all of this, enrich your spiritual life, join a church, and pray,” he concluded.  

About Dr. Siminyu?

  • BAED 1989 and scored Upper Second
  • MA 1995
  • Joined the Department of Distance Education as a contract staff (Editor) 1995
  • Got Contract appointment for 6 months on 25th January 1996 an Editor
  • He joined with a Masters Degree so he got an appointment as a lecturer on March 11, 1998 a rank he has held until his retirement.
  • He previously served as the head of the Department of Distance Education
  • All through his service at Makerere, he has served as the Head of Materials Development and Distribution Section in the department.
  • Sam has been an expert in curriculum development and review for all the delivered programs in the department (B.Ed/ Ext, B.COX, B.Sc and BARI)
  • He became the interim managing editor of Makerere University Press on June 20, 2022 and made several publications under his watchful eye.
  • Sam was one of the pioneers of online learning at Makerere University. He did his PhD at the University of Liverpool purely online.
  • He has participated in policy formulation and implementation at various levels.

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