Principals Of BWI
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History of BWI
The establishment of the Booker Washington Agricultural & Industrial Institute of Liberia was a dream comes true for the late president of the Republic of Liberia, Charles Dunbar Burgess King. During an official visit to the United States of America in 1924, president King was asked by a reporter to name any thing of significance that he would like to take back to his country. The President said, " If it were possible I would like to take Tuskegee Institute with me to Liberia." Even though it was not physically possible to transplant Tuskegee Institute of the United States to Liberia, President King's dream of a Tuskegee type institution in Liberia was fulfilled in 1929. In 1924, the year in which President King visited the United States, Ms. Olivia Phelps-Stokes, an American Philanthropist expressed her desire to finance an educational institution somewhere in Africa to be names in honor of Booker T. Washington, embracing the educational philosophy of Booker T. Washington, that of educating the mind, heart and hands. An educational concept, which involved theoretical and practical concept of learning.

The Phelps-Stokes Foundation was authorized to research the possibility of establishing an institution in Africa to fulfill the desire of philanthropist Olivia Phelps-Stokes. One of the researchers was James Longstreet Sibley, who later became the first principal of the Booker Washington Institute in Liberia. Researchers found out that president C. D. B. King had expressed his desire to take Tuskegee Institute with him to Liberia, which was founded on the educational philosophy of Booker T. Washington, in whose honor Ms. Olivia Phelps-Stokes would like to name the institution. Based upon the result of the study, Liberia was the first country targeted for the establishment of a Tuskegee type institution.

After few visits to Liberia by the Phelps-Stokes delegation to negotiate with the Liberian Government, amicable agreement was reached between Phelps-Stokes Fund and the Republic of Liberia to establish the Booker Washington Agricultural and Industrial Institute in Kakata, Liberia. The agreement stipulated, among cardinal points, that the government of the Republic of Liberia will donate land upon which the institution would be built and US$5,000 per year for ten years and Phelps-Stokes fund would budget an initial amount to finance beginning construction.

In fulfillment of the commitment of the Government of Liberia to the agreement, 1000 acres of land was donated in Kakata, 41 miles from Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. The Phelps-Stokes foundation made an initial grant of $10,000. In March, 1929, ground was broken in Kakata, where the Sibley Monument is presently located establishing what we know today as the Booker Washington Agricultural & Industrial Institute (BWI for short), our revere Alma Mater. James Longstreet Sibley was named the first principal by the then Board of Trustees.

1. James Longstreet Sible                 1929

2. Louise P. Clinton (Acting)       1929-1931

3. F. E. Charleston                      1931-1932

4. Fred G. Lessure                     1932-1934

5. Harold Bare (Acting)               1934-1936

6. Claude Rupel (Acting)            1936-1939

7. Paul Rupel (Acting)                1939-1941

8. B. B. Coefield (Acting)            1941-1942

9. R. L. Embree                          1942-1946

10. Waiter C. Wynn                    1946-1952

11. William A. Hill (Acting)                1952-1953


12. Bernard F. Coleman (Acting)       1953-1955

13. George L. Smith                         1955-1957

14. Moses K. Weefur, Sr.                 1957-1972

15. Samuel J. Mentee                      1972-1974

16. F. Amadu Sirleaf, Sr.                  1974-1980

17. Harry Nayou                               1980-1981

18. Daniel Jappah                            1981-1984

19. T. Kudah Jarrett                          1984-1990

20. F. Amadu Sirleaf, Sr.                  1995-1996

  21. Mulbah Jackollie                       1996 - 2013

  22. Alexander Massey (Interim)          2013