UNIBEN flies flag at half-mast to mourn Alele-Williams

First female vice-chancellor in Nigeria, Prof. Grace Alele-Williams

The University of Benin (UNIBEN) on Saturday ordered the flying of the institution’s flag at half-mast to mourn the death of the first female vice-chancellor in Nigeria, Grace Alele-Williams.

Mrs Alele-Williams, who was appointed vice-chancellor of the University of Benin in 1985, died on Friday in Lagos at the age of 89.

The University of Benin’s spokesperson, Benedicta Ehanire, in a statement, said Lilian Salami, current vice-chancellor of the institution on behalf of the university community mourned the passing of her predecessor.

Mrs Salami, the second female vice-chancellor in the institution after Alele-Williams, described the late former and first female vice-chancellor as an iconic giant for breaking the glass ceiling for other women to blossom.

She expressed solace in the fact that the late professor was being celebrated rather than mourned.

“The Vice-Chancellor, University of Benin, Prof. Lilian Salami, on behalf of the Governing Council, Management, Staff, Alumni and Students, mourns the passing of her predecessor, Prof. Grace Alele-Williams.

“Prof. Salami described the late former and first female vice-chancellor of the University of Benin as an iconic giant who broke the glass ceiling for other women to blossom,’’ Ms Ehanire stated.

Mrs Alele-Williams, Nigeria’s first female professor of Mathematics Education, was born on Dec. 16, 1932 in Delta to an Itsekiri mother and Owan father from Sobe, Edo.

She trod where others dreaded – Obaseki

Meanwhile, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has described the late former vice-chancellor as an Amazon who trod where others dreaded.

He said she was a thoroughbred academician who throughout her life left an indelible mark of dutiful service, hard work, diligence and determination.

Mr Obaseki said this in a statement on Saturday to mourn Mrs Alele-Williams’ passing.

The governor commiserated with the Alele-Williams family, praying that God will grant all the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

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

“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,” the governor said. (NAN)