Egerton University is the oldest institution of higher learning in Kenya. It was founded as a Farm School in 1939 by Lord Maurice Egerton of Tatton, a British national who settled in Kenya in the 1920s. In 1950, the School was upgraded to an Agricultural College offering diploma programmes. The Egerton Agricultural College Ordinance was enacted in 1955. In 1979, the Government of Kenya and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded a major expansion of the institution. In 1986, Egerton Agricultural College was gazetted as a constituent college of the University of Nairobi. The following year, 1987, marked the establishment of Egerton University through an Act of Parliament.
Egerton University has three (3) Campuses and one Campus College. The main Campus is based at Njoro and houses the Faculties of Agriculture, Arts and Social Sciences, Education and Community Studies, Engineering and Technology, Environment and Resources Development, Science and Veterinary Medicine and Surgery. The Njoro Campus also houses the Board of Undergraduate Studies and Field Attachment, and the Board of Postgraduate Studies. The other Campus is the Nairobi City Campus, offering programmes from the Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences, Commerce, and Education and Community Studies. It also hosts the African Centre for Distance Education (ACDE). The third Campus, Kenyatta Campus, is located five (5) kilometres from Njoro Campus and is planned to house the Open and Distance Learning (CODL) programmes which is currently based at Njoro Campus. The only University’s Campus College, Nakuru Town Campus College, hosts the Faculties of Commerce and Health Sciences. The University currently has nine (9) faculties and fifty one (51) academic departments offering a wide range of programmes at diploma, undergraduate, and postgraduate levels. All of them are open to both Government-sponsored and selfsponsored students. The University also offers courses in computer literacy, computer repairs and maintenance, as well as accounting and bridging courses.
Egerton University has made tremendous progress towards increasing access to higher education in Kenya. Chuka, Kisii and Laikipia Universities, who were chartered to become full-fledged Universities on 8th January 2013, 6th February 2013 and 19th February 2013, respectively, were all former constituent Colleges of Egerton University. Besides, the University’s other notable achievements include establishment of: Institute of Women, Gender and Development Studies; Directorates of Quality Assurance, Planning and Development, Student Welfare Services, Institutional Advancement, International Linkages and Programmes; and the University Industry Liaison Office (UILO); African Virtual University (AVU) Centre; The Essential Electronic Agricultural Library (TEEAL); and Egerton Journal of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education and the Egerton Journal of Science and Technology as international peer-reviewed periodicals. In addition, the University has introduced a range of new academic programmes and graduates over 3,000 students annually.
The University has undertaken major research projects, including: Vegetable Oil Protein System (VOPS), Agricultural Management Project (AMP), Policy Analysis Matrix (PAM), Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), Lake Nakuru Research Project, the Horticultural Technology Experimental Project, Fingerponds Project, Wetland Project, River Njoro Watershed, Soil Fertility Replenishment, Tropical Legumes Project, Managing the Process of Growing Up, and Epidemiology, Blood Safety and Research Project (EBR), evaluation and promotion Pigeon pea Genotypes, genetic improvement of East African Zebu cattle for milk production in ASAL, cassava post-harvest value addition, identifying socio economic constraints to and incentives for faster technology adoption. There are a number of projects are funded by Lake Victoria Research Project (VICRES) and Edulink. The University has also established the Crop Management Research Training (CMRT) Centre, and created Tegemeo Institute of Agriculture Policy and Development. The University currently holds the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics.
Egerton University has established a series of local and international partnerships and linkages in research, teaching, and industry. Other developments include: establishment of HIV and AIDS Unit; rehabilitation and development of Lord Egerton Castle; development of University Botanic Garden; establishment of Local Council of International Reading Association (IRA); setting up of Egerton University Community Resource Centre; hosting the Secretariat of the African Council for Distance Education; and the development and introduction of a joint programme in Governance, Ethics, Anti-Corruption, and Economic Crimes with what was the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (now the Kenya Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission).
The governance structure of Egerton University consists of the Chancellor, the University Council, the University Management Board, the Senate, Deans of Faculties, Directors of Schools, Centres and Institutes, Chairmen of Departments, and Heads of Departments and Sections. There are three divisions within the University: The Division of Academic Affairs, the Division of Administration and Finance, and the Division of Research and Extension. The University currently has a population of about 19,000 students; 514 academic staff; and 1,441 non-academic staff. Throughout its history, Egerton University has been guided by the key principles of integrity, continuous improvement of services and products, accessibility to the society, gender equity, and rational use of resources.