On 29 July 1951, Ssalongo Kintu a local merchant, invited two of his best friends to a meeting: Charles Kisitu Ffulu, the then Parish Chief of Nkumba, and Zefania Mpanga, a civil servant who resided in the area. Their meeting led to the establishment of a kindergarten for their infants. The school opened on 6 February 1952 with twelve pupils at Ffulu’s home. Within two years, the student population had grown to over 150. The kindergarten grew into a primary (elementary) school. Over the years, the school grew into a junior secondary (middle) school and a senior secondary (high) school. In 1969, the school became a vocational school. In 1974, the name of the school was changed to the Nkumba College of Commerce and Advanced Studies. Finally, in 1994, the board of trustees were approved by the Ministry of Education to transform the college into a university. This marked the beginning of Nkumba University. On 16 February 2007, Nkumba University was granted a charter by the president of Uganda upon the recommendation of the National Council for Higher Education as provided in the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act 2001. Nkumba University (NU) is one of the oldest Universities in the country, region and Africa.
The University is a private, non-denominational, non-profit and non-secular institution which has a Vision of “To be a leading national, regional and global hub for academic and professional excellence”. It Mission is “To provide an environment that enables the cultivation of competence, confidence, creativity and character in the academic, professional and social interaction”. The University was started with the following objectives;
- To widen access to quality higher education;
- To provide individuals with quality education conducive to becoming competent and innovative members who are responsive to the changing needs of society;
- To equip individuals with technological and entrepreneurial skills;
- To develop requisite infrastructure;
- To recruit, develop and retain competent and adequate staff;
- To develop and maintain high quality in all its activities and services;
- To broaden the funding base of the University, and prudently manage its resources.
But these can only be achieved through having core values that both staff and students believe in which include; Excellence, Integrity, Respect, Responsiveness, Teamwork and cooperation, Innovativeness, Equity and Time Management.
The Governance structures of the University have supported in the setting of vision, strategies, policies and overseeing their implementation of the strategic plan. This role of governance is vested in three bodies which are; Board of Trustees, University Council and Management. The Board of Trustees perform the role of proprietorship of the University and so it is charged with setting the vision of the institution, acquisition and development of university property. In view of that role, it is responsible for appointing members to the University Council and Top Management (Vice Chancellor, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Nkumba University, University Secretary and Academic Registrar) of the University. All policy matters are a responsibility of the University Council. The council is mandated with developing all University governance policies that are implemented. The management does the day to day running of the University through its different structures.
The university offers several programmes leading to the award of certificates, diplomas, degrees as well as postgraduate academic qualifications. The university has so far graduated out over 25,000 students who are part of the alumni occupying several important roles in Uganda and the rest of the world. The University has been blessed to have its university Chancellor, Prof. Gordon Wavamunno since 2011 to date. The university has developed numerous academic programmes including Bachelor of Science degree in petroleum studies, mineral management, and technology and was one of the first universities in the country to introduce it. At the moment, the University boosts of over 130 programs ranging from diploma to PhD level. These are taught by experienced faculty who have diverse experience in both theory and practice.
The university campus is located on Nkumba Hill in Wakiso District, approximately 10 kilometres (6.2 mi), by road, north-east of Entebbe International Airport, along the northern shores of Lake Victoria, the second-largest fresh water body in the world.