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While there is a great deal of literature available about schooling in Kenya and a good deal of writing about the establishment of Kenya's public university system there is a significant gap in the literature when it comes to describing and analyzing why certain areas of the country had long been removed from any on-site development of independent university opportunities. This study is an attempt to offer a history of an educational institution - an independent public university at the coast in Kenya - that does not yet exist. This longstanding absence took several significant steps toward transforming to a presence in 2007, when several university colleges were created at the coast. This transformation from absence to presence is a central theme in this work. The research for this project, broadly defined, took place over a seventeen year period and is rooted in both the author's professional experience as an educator working in Kenya in the early 1990s as well as his academic interests in comparative and international higher education. More narrowly, core data for the study was gathered in a series of open-ended interviews conducted during a series of trips to Kenya made between 2005 and 2007. Additional data were collected from newspaper sources and other published materials available in Kenya. The data were analyzed using a blend of grounded theory, dialectical and discourse analysis frameworks, in which the author's long, pre-doctoral study, professional engagement with Kenya fed the symbiosis of data collection and the theory development that is a central element of grounded theory. Dialectics provided a framework of major chord discourses (marginalization; a responsive discourse of alternatives; and a university of our own) within each of which a Fairclough-ian understanding of discourse is used to reveal the minor chord complexities of each major chord discourse.