The United Methodist University (UMU) is privately owned by the Liberia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church and is a faith based Christian co- educational institution of higher learning. The University was established in 1998 and oﬃcially began its operations in January 2000 during the Liberian civil war.
The idea to conceive a University began in the early 1970s growing out of the concern that Liberia had only two (2) institutions of higher learning, namely, the Cuttington University College, an Episcopal University; and the University of Liberia, owned by the Government of Liberia. These two institutions could not adequately serve and/or meet the educational and manpower needs of the Country.
As a result, the Church commissioned a body to develop plans for the establishment of an institution of higher learning. The initial work commenced in 1975, and by 1979, the Church approved plans for the establishment of the College of West Africa Junior College of Business.
In 1980, the College of West Africa Junior College of Business became operational with programs being oﬀered in Business and Secretarial Science. Students who matriculated to the Junior College graduated with Associates of Arts Degrees in Accounting and Secretarial Science. The Junior College operated unl the Liberian civil war began in 1990.
Prior, in 1986, the Church, desirous of having a full ﬂedged degree granting higher education institution, commissioned an 18-member committee chaired by the late Dr. C. Wesley Armstrong. The Armstrong Commission was tasked with the responsibility of conducting a feasibility study for the upgrade of the College of West Africa Junior College Programs to the level of a full university.
Although the dream for establishing the United Methodist University was delayed, the Church remained resolute in providing higher education opportunities for Liberians and other Africans in general. As the civil war subsided, it became increasingly apparent that Cuttington University and the University of Liberia could not meet the increasing demand from students seeking higher education.
In 1997, a 22-member technical team headed by Rev. J. Twaplayfano Dohr, was commissioned to take a comprehensive review of the work for the establishment of the United Methodist University. As the result of the work of the Twaplayfano Dohr Committee, the United Methodist University was chartered by the National Legislature on October 9, 1999 as full ﬂedged University.
Since the inception of the United Methodist University, eﬀorts have been made to partner with the Africa University in Zimbabwe. A tripartite consultation conference was held in April 2000 in Monrovia, Liberia, with the United Methodist Church General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Africa University of Zimbabwe, and the United Methodist University to forge a collaborative working relationship. It was agreed in principle, that the UMU could serve as the West Africa Satellite Campus of Africa University.