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Professional Excellence : Nigerian Becomes President At Champlain College, Vermont, USA

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By Emmanuel Oluebube

Naturalised American and Nigerian-born economist, scholar and educator, Professor Benjamin Ola. Akande has been appointed as the president of the prestigious, 142-year old Champlain College, Burlington, Vermont, USA.

This piece of good news was communicated to us early Wednesday, April 22, 2020, by Professor Akande’s friend and Head of Online Media at telecommunications sector regulatory agency, the Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC), Dr. Omoniyi Ibietan.  “I just had a telephone conversation with Professor Akande – a personal friend, brother and mentor – and he confirmed the good news. It is indeed gratifying to know this. It is also pleasing to find that when Prof. Akande resumes at Champlain on July 1, he will be the ninth president of the historic, prestigious and highly recommended institution, where over 80 courses are taught at bachelor’s and master’s level,” Dr. Ibietan said.

Prof. Akande obtained a doctorate from the University of Oklahoma and rounded off his postdoctoral fellowship at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; and at the Saïd School of Business, Oxford University.

Akande was Dean of George Herbert Walker School of Business at Webster University and was quite notable as the President of Westminster College, Missouri. Before this new appointment, he served (and is still serving) as Assistant Vice Chancellor at Washington University, St. Louis. As the Dean at George H. Walker Business School, he was instrumental to attracting a phenomenal naming gift worth US$10 million – the largest of such in the history of the institution!

Born in 1962, Akande left Nigeria for the United States at age 17 to study for his first degree at Wayland Baptist University where he eventually earned a master’s degree in economics and public administration at Oklahoma University before proceeding to obtain a PhD at the same University.

Akande hails from a documented ancestry of scholars. His dad, the Reverend  Dr. S.T. Ola. Akande, is a renowned Christian patriot, theologian, theological scholar and impeccable church administrator, who served distinctively as the Secretary of the notably historic Nigerian Baptist Convention.

As a proof of the high standard-setting character of Professor Akande’s parents, his own siblings are notable standard bearers in scholarship and community service. His wife, a pharmacist, is also a leading light of uncommon community and professional service.

A change agent, financial expert, coach and dedicated mentor, Akande was named among St. Louis’ most influential personalities, and he is a consultant to Fortune 500 companies.

On the choice of Akande as the new president, a Trustee and Chair of the Presidential Search Committee Neale Lunderville remarked: “I want to offer my sincere gratitude and heartfelt appreciation to each of our Committee members. Their extraordinary efforts over the past many months produced a strong result. Dr. Akande will be an exceptional president for our exceptional college.” 

“To that declaration, I proclaim a resounding AMEN! Congratulations and best wishes Prof. I beseech The Almighty God to arm you with very rare grace to succeed effortlessly even in areas your predecessors found challenging. May God enable you to break fresh grounds that will reposition the Institution to greater heights,” concluded Ibietan. 

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