The University of Benin branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has described the death of the first female Vice-Chancellor in Nigeria, Prof. Grace Alele-Williams, as saddening.
The Professor of Mathematics Prof. Alele-Williams was appointed the Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin in 1985 to open a floodgate for more women heads of the universities. Prof Alele-Williams had also broken the glass ceiling as the first woman to earn a doctorate degree in 1963.
Aged 89, Prof. Alele-Williams died last Friday.
UNIBEN Chairman of the ASUU, Dr Ray Chikogu recalled that Prof. Alele-Williams was at the helm of affairs of the institution at the time that it was clearly in need of a direction and strong leadership, which he said she provided.
‘She was an icon in the University of Benin and we missed her greatly.
‘The University of Benin misses her because of the remarkable landmarks she left in the university in terms of good infrastructure and human development.
‘She left an indelible footprint and we are hoping that God will give her immediate family the fortitude to bear the loss, and hope that God will grant her eternal repose’, the ASUU leader said.
Among her various accomplishments, Prof. Alele-Williams served as Regional Vice-President for Africa of the Third World Organisation for Women in Science and was the first President of the African Mathematical Union Commission for Women in Mathematics.
She received multiple awards including the Order of the Niger in 1987, Fellow of the Mathematical Association of Nigeria, Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Education, Merit Award of the old Bendel State in Nigeria.