Jimma University

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Jimma University
Current Logo of Jimma University.png
Type Public
Established 1952
President Dr. Fikre Lemessa
Academic staff
Students 42,000[1]
Location Jimma, Ethiopia
Campus Urban, 412 acres (167 ha)
Language English
Colors      Royal Blue
Website www.ju.edu.et

Jimma University (JU) is a public research university located in Jimma, Ethiopia. It is recognized as the leading national university, as ranked first by the Federal Ministry of Education for four successive years (2009 - 2012).[1][2]

The establishment of Jimma university dates back to 1952 when Jimma college of Agriculture was founded. The university got its current name in December 1999 following the amalgamation of Jimma College of Agriculture (founded in 1952) and Jimma Institute of Health Sciences (founded in 1983).[3]

Currently the university has two campuses; the college of agriculture campus which is located next to downtown Jimma and the main campus located in the suburb of the town. Both campuses are wooded and are just like urban parks that host a plethora of wild life.[4]


The university campus is located in the city of Jimma, situated around 352 kilometers southwest of Addis Ababa. Its grounds cover some 167 hectares. JU is Ethiopia's first innovative community-oriented educational institution of higher learning, with teaching centers for health care students in Jimma, Omo Nada, Shebe, Agaro, and Asendabo.[5] JU is a pioneer in Public health training. It has academic and scientific collaboration with numerous national and international partners. JU also publishes the biannual Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences, and launched the Jimma University Journal of Law in October 2007.


Jimma University's main campus is located next to the former palace of the kings of the Kingdom of Jimma, which was one of the strong kingdoms in the Gibe region of Ethiopia in the years 1790 AD to 1932 AD. The city of Jimma is situated in the regional hub of the birthplace of coffee Arabica, where the stimulating effect of coffee was first discovered in the region of Kaffa in Ethiopia. According to legend, ancestors of today's Oromo people in the region of Kaffa in Ethiopia were believed to have been the first to recognize the energizing effect of the coffee plant in the tenth century,[6] though no direct evidence has been found indicating where exactly coffee grew or who among the native populations might have used it as a stimulant or even known about it, earlier than the 17th century.[6] The story of Kaldi, the 9th-century Ethiopian goatherd who discovered coffee when he noticed how excited his goats became after eating the beans from a coffee plant, did not appear in writing until 1671.


Jimma University is one of the largest and comprehensive public research universities in Africa. The university graduates innovative professionals through its community oriented educational philosophy in the fields of agriculture, environment, health and medical sciences, natural and social sciences, technology and information sciences, business and economics, and education. The University has more than 4,000 faculty and staff members. It also has twelve research facilities, a modern hospital, a community school, a community radio station (FM 102.0), an ICT center, libraries and revenue generating enterprises. The university is operating on four campuses and it is on the phase of establishing its fifth campus at Agaro. Currently, the university educates more than 43,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 103 postgraduate programs in regular, summer and distance education with more enrollments in the years to come. The university has many national and international linkages and collaborations in the area of research, education and community service. Its innovative educational philosophy, staff commitment and motivation and availability of better research facility have helped the university in attracting both national and international partners.

Faculties, Institutes and Schools[edit]

The University consists of the following academic units:[7]

International Partners/Affiliates[edit]


Jimma University is highly committed to pioneering concepts, as reflected in its motto, the university was initially founded based on the concept of Community-Based Education (CBE).[8] Throughout its history, the university has been committed to this scheme, and almost all of the academic curriculum are based on CBE programs.

Office of Innovation[edit]

Jimma University is the first university in Africa that has established an exclusive office under the President's office to supervise all innovative programs across the university.[9]

Jimma University College of Public Health and Medical Sciences[edit]

The establishment of the College of Health Sciences of Jimma University (JU) can be traced back to 1983 G.C. with the birth of the then Jimma Institute of Health Sciences (JIHS). The very beginning of the establishment of JIHS is marked as a continuation of the Ras Desta Damtew Health Assistant Training School established in 1967 by the Ethio-Netherlands health project in the premises of Jimma Hospital. On this foundation, the School of Nursing was established in 1983. Subsequently, the School of Medicine as well as the School of Pharmacy emerged in 1985; the School of Medical Laboratory Technology and the School of Environmental Health launched in 1987 and 1988, respectively.[10]

Jimma University Specialized Hospital (JUSH)[edit]

Jimma University teaching Hospital (JUTH) is one of the oldest public hospitals in the country. It was established in 1922. Geographically, it is located in Jimma city 352 km southwest of the capital Addis Ababa. It has been governed under the Ethiopian government by the name of “Ras Desta Damtew Hospital” and later “Jimma Hospital" during Dergue regime and currently Jimma University Specialized Teaching Hospital.[11]

Though old for its age, it had not made remarkable physical facility improvement for years. However, in the later times it became evident that some side-wing buildings were constructed by different stakeholders at different times to respond to the ever-growing pressure of service demand and clinical teaching need derived from the public and Jimma University respectively. Especially, after transfer of its ownership to Jimma University, the university has made relentless efforts in extensive renovation and expansion work to make the hospital conducive for service, teaching and research.

Cognizant of the fast growing service and teaching role of the hospital, the federal government considered construction of a new and level- best 600 bedded hospital which’ will be functional as of September 2015.[11]

Department of Materials Science & Engineering[edit]

Department of Materials Science & Engineering, as a national role model for research-oriented departments, was established with a start-up budget of USD 10 million.[12] This is the first comprehensive department of materials science in Ethiopia, which offers all MSE programs with emphasis on world-class research areas. The main theme of the department research is nano-materials under supervision of Professor Ali Eftekhari, President of the American Nano Society.


Named Aba Segud Airport, the airport was one of the oldest built in 1961 together with three others in Addis Abeba, Asmara and Dire Dawa. The airport lies on 4665.76 sq.m plot adjacent to the old Jimma Airport. On May 16, 2015, the Ethiopian Airports Enterprise recently unveiled an upgrade of the airport in the ancient town of Jimma, 354 km west of Addis Ababa at a cost of 490 million birr. The upgrading work undertaken by Yirgalem General Construction Plc and Varnero Construction Plc, began in 2009 and was initially scheduled to be completed in 2012. The new airport runway is 4 km long and has a width of 60 meters. The passenger terminal is a one storey building that houses restaurants, shops, bank, worship compartment and offices. The passenger terminal can serve 220 passengers at a time. The apron can accommodate four aircraft at a time.[13]

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Dr. Gebisa Ejeta - 2009 World Food Prize winner (considered the Nobel prize of Agriculture)


Coordinates: 7°41′6″N 36°49′53″E / 7.68500°N 36.83139°E / 7.68500; 36.83139