Grace Alele-Williams, first female VC in Nigeria, dies at 89


Grace Alele-Williams, the first woman to become a vice-chancellor in Nigeria, is dead.

She was said to have died yesterday.

Alele-Williams, a renowned professor of mathematics, would have clocked 90 in December.

Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo, confirmed the development in a statement on Saturday, describing her as an “Amazon”.

“It is with a heavy heart that I received the shocking news of the passing of renowned academic and administrator, Prof. Grace Alele-Williams,” the statement reads.

“Prof. Alele-Williams was a thoroughbred academician who throughout her life left an indelible mark of dutiful service, hard work, diligence and determination.

“She was an Amazon, who tread where others dreaded. Her devotion to national development is unmatched.

“As the first female Nigerian to earn a doctorate degree in mathematics, Prof. Alele-Williams was a woman of many firsts. She shattered the glass ceiling and didn’t look back thereafter.

“When she became the Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) – at the time the first ever female Vice Chancellor of a Nigerian university – she shone brightly as a fearless administrator and restored sanity to the higher institution during a period of social upheaval.

“Prof. Alele-Williams will be remembered for her insight, dedication to duty and courage as well as her commitment to breaking barriers limiting the advancement of women in uncharted territories.

“I commiserate with the Alele-Williams family, praying that God will grant all the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.”