Olive Mugenda

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Olive Mwihaki Mugenda
Born1956 (age 62–63)
ResidenceNairobi, Kenya
Alma materUniversity of Nairobi
(Bachelor of Education)
Iowa State University
(Master of Science)
(Doctor of Philosophy)
Eastern and Southern African Management Institute
(Master of Business Administration)
OccupationAcademic & Academic Administrator
Years active1988 — present
Known forAdministrative Skills, Body of Work
TitleVice Chancellor
Kenyatta University

Olive Mwihaki Mugenda is a Kenyan academic, researcher and academic administrator. She was the Vice Chancellor of Kenyatta University until 20 March 2016, one of the 31 public universities in Kenya, the largest economy in the East African Community. She was appointed to that position in 2006, the first woman to lead a public university in the African Great Lakes area.[1]

Background and education[edit]

She was born and raised in Kenya. She attended the University of Nairobi, graduating with a Bachelor of Education degree. She studied at Iowa State University, obtaining the degree of Master of Science in family studies in 1983. Her degree of Doctor of Philosophy, in the same field, was obtained in 1988, also from Iowa State University. She also holds a Master of Business Administration from the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute.[2]


When she graduated with her first degree, she joined the staff at Kenyatta University, in 1981, as a tutorial fellow. Because she had done very well during her Bachelor of Education studies, obtaining a first class honours degree in the process, she was given a scholarship to study at Iowa State University for her masters and doctorate.

After her graduate studies in the United States, she returned to lecture at Kenyatta University. She specialized in "women’s education, home economics, statistics and research methodology". She was promoted from Lecturer to Head of Department, to Dean of Faculty. Then she was appointed Deputy Vice Chancellor for Finance and Planning. In 2006, when the position of Vice Chancellor at the university was advertised, she applied and beat three other applicants, all male, for the job. As Vice Chancellor, one of the major accomplishments is the establishment of Kenyatta University Referral Hospital, a 500-bed referral hospital, wholly owned by the university, which cost US$95 million to construct.[3] In October 2013, Professor Olive Mugenda was appointed Chairperson of the Council of the Association of Commonwealth Universities. The association is the oldest international universities network, with over 500 universities, in 37 countries as members. The secretariat is based in London, United Kingdom.

After her retirement from Kenyatta university, President Uhuru Kenyatta nominated her alongside two others to serve in the judicial service commission



Mugenda and her husband, Abel Mugenda, an academic at the University of Nairobi, are the parents of four children.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ISUALUM, . (2008). "Iowa State University Alumni Association: Distinguished Alumni Award - Olive Mwihaki Mugenda, 2008". Iowa State University Alumni Association (ISUALUM). Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  2. ^ UNESCO, . "Academic Profile of Professor Olive Mugenda". UNESCO. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  3. ^ Nganga, Gilbert (26 August 2012). "How Kenyatta's Leader Shattered The Glass Ceiling". University World News. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  4. ^ Standard Reporter, . (17 October 2013). "Kenyatta University Vice-Chancellor Professor Olive Mugenda To Chair Council of Commonwealth Universities". The Standard (Kenya). Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  5. ^ ISUALUM, . (2008). "The Family Members of Olive Mwihaki Mugenda". Iowa State University Alumni Association (ISUALUM). Retrieved 1 December 2014.

External links[edit]