Nigeria’s first female vice-chancellor – Grace Alele-Williams


Grace Alele-Williams  made history as Nigeria’s first female vice-chancellor, when she became the vice-chancellor of the University of Benin (1985-1991)

alele williams

Grace Alele-Williams was born (Grace Awani-Alele) on December 16, 1932 in Warri, Delta State, she received her education at Queens College, Lagos, Nigeria, University College (now University of Ibadan), and the University of Vermont, before receiving a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from the University of Chicago (March 1963 – Dissertation: “Dynamics of Education in the birth of a new nation: Case study of Nigeria“). She returned to Nigeria for a couple of years’ post-doctoral work at the University of Ibadan, before joining the faculty of the University of Lagos, in 1965.

Her teaching career started at Queen’s School, Ede, Osun State, where she was mathematics master (1954 -1957). She was also a graduate assistant and later assistant professor at the University of Vermont. Between 1963 and 1965, Alele-Williams was a post doctoral research fellow, department (and institute) of Education, University of Ibadan from where she was appointed a professor of mathematics at the University of Lagos in 1976.

She was chairman of the curriculum review committee, (former) Bendel state from 1973 to 1979 and Chairman of the Lagos State Curriculum review committee and Examination board from 1979 to 1985. She was a member of the UNESCO institute of education governing council and a consultant to UNESCO and Institute of International Education Planning.

In 1985, she was appointed as Nigeria’s first female vice chancellor at the University of Benin. Other honours are

  • Fellow of the Mathematical Association of Nigeria and of the Nigerian Academy of Education
  • Merit Award Winner of Bendel State in Ni­geria
  • Regional Vice President for Africa of the Third World Organization for Women in Science

She is the author of the book “Modern Mathematics Handbook for teachers”

She was married to late Professor Babatunde Williams and has 5 children and 10 grandchildren

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