Nigeria’s First Female Vice Chancellor, Alele-Williams Dies At 89

Channels Television  
Updated March 26, 2022
FILE PHOTO: Professor Grace Alele-Williams


Nigeria’s first female Vice-Chancellor, Professor Grace Alele-Williams, is dead.

She died on Friday, March 25 at the age of 89.

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

Godwin Obaseki, Edo State Governor in a statement on Saturday extolled her, describing her as a woman of many firsts.

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The governor said when Alele-Williams became the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) as the first-ever female to get to the position and she shone brightly as a fearless administrator and restored sanity to the higher institution during a period of social upheaval.

Alele-Williams according to the governor was also 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.

“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,” Obaseki said.

Obaseki said 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.

Professor Alele-Williams was born in Warri, Delta State, and attended Government School, Warri; Queen’s College, Lagos and the University College, Ibadan (now the 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 Ph.D degree in mathematics education at the University of Chicago in 1963, making her the first Nigerian woman to be awarded a doctorate degree in Mathematics