Kenyan mother and daughter graduate with PhDs from Moi University

It was a sight to behold when a mother and her daughter were conferred with PhD degrees during Moi University’s 40th graduation.

Leen Kavulavu PhD (left) and her mother Dr Anne Mugalavai (right) shortly after graduating at Moi University Main Campus in Kesses. Photo: Peter Ochieng/The Standard.

Leen Kavulavu PhD and her mother Anne Mugalavai PhD could not hide their joy as they jointly posed for a photo at Moi University’s main campus in Kesses.

The day was double blessings as it marked a huge milestone in their scholarly paths.

They hugged in ecstasy, embraced tightly in visible awe of their success.

Truly and apple does not fall away form the tree and like daughter so it is lie mother.

TrendingLeo.co.ke established that Leen is 33 years old while her mother Anne is 58 years old.

Despite the graduation ceremony in which 5000 graduands were conferred with different degrees being virtual, Leen and Anne were among the 200 students allowed into the graduation square.

Anne graduated with as PhD in information science while Leen graduated with a PhD in education.

The two are natives of Kegondi Village, Sabatia Constituency in Vihiga County.

Mugalavai, Leen’s mother completed her A-Level (Form Six) 38 years ago at Butere Girls and subsequently joined Kenya Polytechnic, now the Technical University of Kenya (TUK).

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She pursued a diploma in Library Science at Kenya Polytechnic.

Mugalavai then worked at Egerton University as an Assistant Librarian before enrolling for an undergraduate degree in Information Science at the same institution in 2004.

She graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Information Sciences in 2007.

“I was the oldest undergraduate student. It was my dream to pursue an undergraduate degree and I did not mind joining students at the age of my children. I balanced between work and study,” Mugalavaki said.

The excellent result in her undergraduate studies motivated her to enroll for a Masters Degree in the same course at Moi University in 2008 and graduated in 2012.

Mugalavai immediately enrolled for a PhD programme in the same field and on Thursday, December 10, Christmas came early as her efforts were rewarded.

“I am happy I have completed my PhD. It is more exhilarating that I have done it with my firstborn daughter,” the mother of three said.

Shortly after attaining her Master’s Degree in Information Science, Mugalavai quit her librarian job at Egerton and joine ROngo University as a lecturer.

The penchant for education seems to be a thing of the blood for the family as Mugalavai disclosed that her second born daughter Fiona Muleke was also pursuing a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management at Moi University.

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The celebration could only have been three star except for a technical hitch that made Muleke miss out on the 40th Moi University graduation.

Mugalavai’s last born daughter Cynthia Chamwada is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree.

“I didn’t meet the university entry point at Form Six but I kept my dream alive. Comrades who directly qualified to join university didn’t further their studies but I have made it to the apex,” Muagalavai said.

Mugalavai’s daughter Kavulavu also did not qualify to directly study an undergraduate degree in university and began with a diploma course at Kenya Methodist University in Meru where she graduated from in 2008.

She immediately enrolled for an undergraduate degree in Education Arts in history and graduated in 2010 then enrolled for a Master’s Degree in 2010.

At the age of 28, in 2015, Kavulavu got a teaching job at Karatina University.

“Upon completing my masters, I got a job as a lecturer at Karatina University. I also enrolled for my PhD at Moi University. I am happy that I am celebrating this achievement with my mother. She is the one who encouraged and motivated me to enrol,” she says.

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She also praises her father, saying the professor has been pushing them to reach the highest level of education.

Prof Musalia says his daughters listened to him when he persuaded them to further their studies despite not qualifying directly to join Universities.

“I wanted everyone in my family to attain the highest level of education. I didn’t want to be the only member of the family with a PhD. I gave my wife the time to pursue her studies while I encouraged my daughters to do better,” he explains.

He continues: “We are now a family of academicians – three lecturers and the rest are joining the club. My second born is the brightest but also the most difficult to handle.”

Prof Musalia asked men to give their spouses the opportunity to further their studies.

 “I will be hosting a small party to celebrate the women I have mentored. It would have been a grand celebration but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have invited a few friends and family members,” she added.

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