“Cui Multum Datum”
–Legon Hall Motto
On Friday, April 6, 2018, Legon Hall, the foremost residential facility to be established on any university campus in this country invited all her sons and daughters to assembly at the Legon Hall Quadrangle. The reason for the invitation was to relaunch the Hall’s alumni association and to commemorate the 65 years of the existence of the Hall. The Special Guest of Honour was the President of the nation, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, an alumnus of the Hall, and who also happened to be the personality who did the relaunching and kick started the anniversary celebrations.
The function attracted well over 400 old residents of the hall form the ancient to the modern. The most visible face of the ancient present was Prof. de Graft Johnson, a pioneer resident of the Hall. Some of his colleagues who are still alive are Ambassador Dr. E.M. Debrah, Prof. Gerald Amonoo and Mr. J. H. Mensah (who happens to be the first JCR president) and Prof. Daniel Adzei Bekoe, former Hall Master and Vice-Chancellor of University of Ghana.
Legon Hall is the first permanent building to be inaugurated by the then University College Council on the permanent site of the University College and that fact is symbolised in her name: Legon Hall. The motto of the Hall is “Cui Multum Datum”, in the Latin language which is simply translated as: “To Whom Much Is Given”. The motto was selected from St. Luke’s Gospel in recognition of the special responsibility attached to Legon Hall’s seniority.
To whom much is given, much is expected. This statement definitely underlies the motto of Legon Hall. The motto should characterise the thoughts, decisions and actions of every human being, especially those society has sacrificed for their development and welfare. Sadly enough, in this part of our world, most often than not, people who get to the top through societal sacrifices tend to forget their humble, austere and frugal beginnings and rather behave like Zeus sitting on top of Mount Olympus. They very often fail to give back to society..
In September 1952, the first 112 undergraduates were accepted into residence in Legon Hall on Legon campus as the first junior members upon the completion of four large and two small blocks of study bedrooms. However, the story actually began earlier. Work on the Hall began during the 1950 – 1951 academic year, and in the Michaelmas Term 1951, the foundation tablet was laid in what is now the Porters Lodge but which was then only the floor slab of the building.
The first junior members who moved into the Hall in September 1952 had all volunteered during the previous year to come into residence in Legon Hall although at that stage, there were no communal facilities of any kind. The irregular supplies of water and electricity were provided by mains and temporary generators as the permanent systems were incomplete. All meals were provided in the Dining Hall at Achimota. The University College was first housed at Achimota and Legon Hall students commuted daily to Achimota for their lectures.
During the year 1952 – 1953, the buildings and equipment of Legon Hall were substantially completed. The first service in the Hall Chapel and the first meal in the Dining Hall both took place on the evening of Trinity Sunday, May 31, 1953. During the month, the six blocks around the south court were occupied and the Senior and Junior Common Rooms, the Library, the Reading Room and the Porters Lodge were taken into use. By the Michaelmas Term 1953, the Hall was complete except for a few small items of equipment and it was possible from that date to establish the life of the Hall on something approaching a permanent basis. Today, Legon Hall consists of the L-shaped main building and the adjoining three-blocked annexes. Plans have been completed to build a fourth annex.
Although the establishment of Legon Hall preceded the enactment by the University College Council on January 12, 1954 of the first Bye-laws of the University College, the organisation of the Hall was from the start, based on the ideas which were later embodied in the Bye-laws: the Master and the first Hall Council being appointed in the Trinity Term 1952. Under the University College Bye-laws, the Halls are intended to develop as independent units of corporate life, with an increasing measure of independence, but the Halls are not separate corporate bodies and are not legal entities. The Hall Council is responsible as a trustee of the University College for the welfare of the Hall and for the properties and funds entrusted to it. It is not financially independent nor does it own the Hall buildings and grounds.
By Kwame Gyasi