Community remembers deceased education professor

By Kelly Bauer

Moses Mutuku, NIU College of Education professor and leader of the Kenya Literacy Project, died Sunday at Kishwaukee Hospital.

Mutuku joined the College of Education in 2001. He also worked with the Kenya Literacy Project, which sought to improve daily life and education in Kenya, his homeland. His work with the organization led to the creation of earthen dams in Kenya and the distribution of chickens and rabbits to locals to provide a sustainable income. According to an NIU Today article, the Kenya Literacy Project also saw the development of a library, which various College of Education professors have donated books to.

Though the NIU Today article said funeral arrangements are pending for the professor, some students are already thinking of ways to honor Mutuku. Nora Fergus, senior early childhood education major, said she and several others “want to brainstorm to memorialize” Mutuku and his work.

Kim Russell, senior childhood education major, said Mutuku’s passion for teaching was “contagious.”

Fergus said Mutuku stood apart from other teachers because of his positive attitude.

“He always had the class laughing and smiling,” Fergus said. “If he said he couldn’t make it to class, we’d actually be bummed. You could tell he legitimately enjoyed it.”

In fact, the NIU Today article stated that Mutuku and other NIU professors trained Kenyan teachers in early childhood and elementary education.

“He was an eternal optimist who always had a sincere smile

and infused hope and happiness to those around him. He stayed connected to his homeland, working tirelessly to help children through the Kenya Literacy Project,” said La Vonne Neal, College of Education dean, and department chair Connie Fox in a statement released Tuesday.