Malua principal become a professor

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 24 May 2024, 8:00AM

The title of Professor of New Testament was conferred to Reverend Professor Vaitusi Nofoaiga, the Principal of Malua Theological College in a historic ceremony at the Malua Jubilee on Thursday.

As the oldest theological institution in the region, Malua Theological College took pride in this achievement, which also represented a major milestone for the Congregational Christian Church Samoa (C.C.C.S.). 

The ceremony was presided over by Reverend Elder Asotasi Gu Time, Chairman of the Board of Malua and the church's Elders Committee. 

The event drew an impressive attendance, including Samoa's Head of State Tuimalealiifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi II, Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, Speaker of the House Papali'i Li'o Ta'eu Masipau, teachers and students of the theological college, church members, and many family and friends.  

Special guests included Professor Paul Trebilco, a Professor of New Testament and Head of the Theology Programme at the University of Otago, and Reverend Professor Otele Perelini, who served as Principal of Malua Theological College from 1995 to 2010 and was conferred Professorship in 1999.

Reverend Elder Amuia Seuala, Secretary of the Elders Committee, explained the stringent criteria and rigorous process for conferring the title of Professor within the C.C.C.S. He noted that this recognition is awarded to individuals who have significantly contributed to theological research, leadership, and the advancement of education within the college. 

The candidate must be a graduate of Malua Theological College, hold the title of Faifeau Samoa (Reverend), possess a PhD, and have a solid understanding of the church's by-laws and theology.

Secondly, he should have a substantial number of academic writings and publications. In addition, the individual must be an active teacher at the theological college and exhibit strong leadership and passion for education. 

Reverend Professor Vaitusi Nofoaiga's conferment followed a thorough review process. The Board of Malua made the initial eligibility assessment and recommendation, which was reviewed by Professor Trebilco of the University of Otago and Professor Leasiolagi Malama Meleisea from Samoa.

Professor Trebilco endorsed the Board’s decision, highlighting Reverend Professor Nofoaiga’s extensive work and service to the theological college, the church, and the academic community both regionally and internationally. 

He praised Reverend Professor Nofoaiga as a distinguished scholar, pioneer, a trailblazer and influential figure in biblical studies, whose writings have profoundly impacted readers' understanding of the Bible. 

He commended his dedication, hard work, and the rich dialogue he has fostered among students and scholars. 

In an interview, Reverend Professor Nofoaiga expressed his humility and gratitude for the recognition, attributing his success to the support of his parents, Lealaiauloto Nofoaiga Kitiona and Aliítasi Nofoaiga, his wife Mile Nofoaiga, and his children. 

He also acknowledged the encouragement and support from his colleagues at Malua, both past and present, and the church leaders.

The ceremony at Malua Jubilee not only honoured Reverend Professor Vaitusi Nofoaiga but also underscored the commitment of Malua Theological College and the C.C.C.S. to fostering academic excellence and theological scholarship. 

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 24 May 2024, 8:00AM
Samoa Observer

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