Nigeria’s first female Vice Chancellor Alele-Williams is dead

Nigeria’s first female Vice Chancellor, Prof. Grace Alele-Williams has died at the age of 89 years. She died on Friday.
Alele-Williams, a professor of mathematics gained prominence after she was appointed the vice-chancellor of the prestigious University of Benin in 1985.
She was also the first Nigerian woman to receive a doctorate.
Alele-Williams was born in Warri, Delta state on December 16, 1932. She attended Government School, Warri, Queen’s College, Lagos and the University College of Ibadan (now University of Ibadan).
She obtained a master’s degree in mathematics while teaching at Queen’s School, Ede in Osun State in 1957 and her PhD degree in mathematics education at the University of Chicago (U.S.) in 1963, thereby making her the first Nigerian woman to be awarded a doctorate.
Alele-Williams returned to Nigeria for a couple of years’ postdoctoral work at the University of Ibadan before joining the University of Lagos in 1965.
Alele-Williams was appointed the vice-chancellor of UNIBEN in 1985 and she believed her appointment at the University of Benin, which ended in 1992, was a test case to demonstrate a woman’s executive capability.
Among her honors are Fellow of the Mathematical Association of Nigeria, Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Education, merit award winner of Bendel State in Nigeria, and regional vice-president for Africa of the Third World Organization for Women in Science” (Science in Africa: Women Leading from Strength AAAS, Washington, 1993, p.174). It may be added that professor Alele-Williams was chairman of the African Mathematical Union Commission for Women in Mathematics.

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