Elsie Adewoye, Model Of Consummate Scholar We’re Seeking to be, build in University – VC

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By ABEL JOHNGOLD

Vice Chancellor (VC), University of Ibadan (UI), Prof Kayode Adebowale, mni, has stated that ruminating on the life and career of Professor Elsie Adewoye, especially her service in the school, what stood out for him was that she was actually the model of the consummate scholar they were seeking to be and to build in the University.

Adebowale stated this in his address as Guest of Honour, at the 70th Birthday Programme of
Prof Elsie Olufunke Adewoye, former Head of Department, Physiology Dept and President, University of Ibadan Alumni Association (UIAA), Worldwide.

In his speech titled: “The town, the gown and the space in-between: Thoughts on the service of Elsie Olufunke Adewoye”, the VC, said he counted it a privilege to be the Guest of Honour at an event, celebrating the crossover of the celebrant to the seventh floor and into retirement.

According to the VC, “As a university, our vision is to be a world-class institution for academic excellence, geared towards meeting societal needs. Our consummate scholar is therefore one who, through research and other activities, traverses the boundary of academia into full involvement in the affairs of the society; one who combines the town with the gown in a way that returns the benefits of research and the academe to the both.”

Relating Elsie Adewoye’s successes to Gavazzi (2020), writing on the possible influence of the Covid-19 pandemic on the relationship between universities and the larger society, which described the relationship as marriage without vows, in health and in sicknes, Adebowale noted that this marriage was often a troubled one and often, there were usually gaps between the spouses. That those who stood in the gap were the ones to be thanked for salvaging that marriage.

“Professor Elsie Olufunke Adewoye is one of these rare ones. And in her style, she has stood in that gap in quite a unique way,” he added.

The UI Vice Chancellor stated that using her position as the President of the Alumni Association, Professor Elsie Adewoye contributed immensely to retaining the UI reputation of being the centre where local, national and international issues are debated and where solutions are proffered; that she brought the world out there to the University of Ibadan.

Prof Elsie Adewoye to

Adebowale said the UIAA Worldwide President answered the second question by inaugurating and promoting activities that would directly benefit the outside world. That through her activities as President of the UI Alumni Association, the association has embarked on building a 2billion naira cancer diagnostic centre.

“Sometimes it seems we reduce town-gown relationship to just conducting research and sharing that with the town, that is the community, policy makers and others. While this is very important, town-gown relationship is more expansive than this. In fact, it is about each academic, exploring the space in-between the town and the gown and seeing what role they can play to further the advancement of both the university and the society.

“For Professor Adewoye, that unique space in-between was the alumni association. And to the benefit of both the University of Ibadan and the outside world, she explored that space very successfully. We are academics, primarily, but somewhere in that space between the town and the gown, we must look for opportunities to be a lot more than typical.

“The University of Ibadan is immensely proud of the exemplary contributions of Professor Elsie Adewoye. Our prayer is that as you begin the new and exciting journey into fruitful service to humanity as a retired academic, you will enjoy good health and happiness,” the UI VC asserted.

In his lecture titled “BRINGING VISION AND RESPONSIBILITY TO LEADERSHIP – A TOAST TO PROFESSOR ELSIE ADEWOYE, the Director of Nigerian Institute For Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), Prof. Celestine Ikuenobe, described the Honoree as a leader who brought to the table, great vision, charisma and responsibility in mobilizing resources for the University of Ibadan and on the goal of taking ownership of it, as suggested by great Nigerians including a legal luminary, Chief Wole Olanipekun, OFR, SAN, and late Emeritus Prof. Akin Mabogunje.

He said the UIAA Worldwide President came across as one naturally gifted with leadership qualities, calm disposition, disarming, motherly, and enough to bring down tensions anywhere.

The Guest Lecturer noted that “What is common place in our clime is that people seek the position of leadership, not because of what they can bring to the table, but what they can get out of it.

“That has been our bane as a nation, even as our people daily struggle for survival. But, in our honoree there’s no challenge of leadership.

“Our honoree today, Professor Elsie Adewoye has served this great University in many capacities, including first as a teacher, mentor of students, Head of Department, Hall Warden and Hall Mistress, and overall mobilizer of resources for the University, on the platform of the Alumni Association.”

While saying the leadership of Alumni associations should be such that has far sighted vision, driven by deep conviction to move the university forward, Ikuenobe disclosed that it was remarkable that Prof. Elsie Adewoye is the second lady to have occupied the exalted position of President of the Association for that matter, in the foot steps of the first lady President, Chief (Mrs.) Folashade Ogunlade.

He opined that every one of us is a leader in our own spheres, that leading people or any group for that matter, was a privilege, but what we bring to it or what we make of our leadership position, was largely defined by our vision and circumstances. That a good leader is a good fortune for the group that is so led.

“A leader’s job is to look into the future and see the organization not as it is, but as it can become. The bane of leadership in all spheres in Nigeria today, is the near lack of vision and responsibility, of those so entrusted with it. According to the famous quotation of Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility.

“It was obvious she understood very well, the admonition by the renowned Civil Rights Leader. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. when he said’ “Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best at whatever you are.” Ikuenobe added.