An educationist who made history by becoming the first Nigerian female Vice-Chancellor, Grace Alele-Williams is dead
- She was a lecturer at the University of Lagos from 1965 to 1985 and spent a decade directing the Institute of Education, where she introduced non-degree programmes, with many of the certificate recipients older women working as elementary school teachers.
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EKO HOT BLOG reports that Professor Grace Alele-Williams, Nigeria’s first female university Vice-Chancellor, is dead.
Alele-Williams, who was also the first woman to receive a doctorate in Nigeria, died on Friday at an undisclosed hospital in Lagos. She was 89 years old.
The late Professor of Mathematics was appointed the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin in 1985.
Confirming the death of the respected university administrator and mathematician to our correspondent, a former Commissioner for Higher Education, Delta State, and ex-Head of Department of English, the University of Lagos, Prof. Hope Eghagha, said Alele-Williams died on Friday.
Asked about the circumstances surrounding her death, Eghagha said, “Anything can happen at 89.”
As of the time of filing this report, there’s no official confirmation of her death from the family.
Born on December 16, 1935, in Warri, in the present-day Delta state, Mrs Alele-Williams was an educationist who made history by becoming the first Nigerian female VC at the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Edo State.
She attended Government School, Warri; Queen’s College, Lagos and the University College, Ibadan, now the University of Ibadan.
She was a lecturer at the University of Lagos from 1965 to 1985, and spent a decade directing the Institute of Education, where she introduced non-degree programmes, with many of the certificate recipients older women working as elementary school teachers.
She 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.
Alele-Williams was appointed the first female vice-chancellor of a Nigerian university in 1985-1992.
Alele-Williams 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. On February 28, 2014, she received the centenary award.
She was a member of the governing council, UNESCO Institute of Education. She was also a consultant to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Institute of International Education Planning.
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She married a political scientist, Dr. Babatunde A. Williams, in December 1963, who at that time was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Ife, Osun State.
As of 2017, Alele-Williams had five children and 10 grandchildren.
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