A Nigerian Professor Emerges As President Of An American University

Benjamin Ola. Akande , a Nigerian professor was announced as the ninth President of Champlain College by the Champlain College Board of Trustees on Tuesday and is to resume his role as President on July 1, 2020. Laurie Quinn, who is the Champlain’s Provost and Senior Vice President for Academics, has been serving as Interim President since July 1, 2019.

“Dr Akande is an agent of change and a visionary leader with a global perspective. His enterprising mindset and commitment to student success will be essential as he leads Champlain College in an evolving higher education landscape. We look forward to welcoming Dr Akande to Champlain and supporting his work to advance the College’s strategic position and build on the strength of our distinctive academic offerings,” said Champlain College Board of Trustees Chair, Charles Kittredge.

Mr Akande is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for International Affairs-Africa and the Associate Director of the Global Health Centre at Washington University in St. Louis right now.

Mr Akande who was named one of the city’s “Most Influential Leaders” by the St. Louis Business Journal, is also an accomplished economist and scholar educator, as well as a recognized civic and business leader. With a PhD in Economics from the University of Oklahoma Mr Akande has served as a tenured Professor of Economics and Dean of the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University in St. Louis from 2000–2015. As Dean. He was quite helpful in securing the $10 million naming gift, the largest in the institution’s history.

Dr Akande was able strengthen the infrastructure and financial sustainability of Westminster College, as the 21st President of Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri from 2015–2017. He worked to transform academic offerings and reimagine marketing and communication strategies to build the college’s brand identity.

“I am humbled and honoured by the opportunity to lead Champlain College during this period of great transformation and even greater opportunity. While the challenges we currently face as global citizens are daunting, they also sharpen our focus and urge us both individually and as a community, to lead from wherever we are,” said Dr Akande. “The commitment to educating adaptable thinkers, daring change-makers and inclusive innovators who shape professions and inspire communities is what sets Champlain College apart. I look forward to taking this journey with you and thank you for the trust you have placed in me to further Champlain College’s mission together.”

An extensive national search was conducted by a broadly representative search committee comprised of students, faculty, staff, Trustees, and a local community member and was instrumental in the selection. Koya Leadership Partners, an executive search firm specializing in mission-driven organizations supported the commitee. Neale Lunderville, Trustee and Chair of the Presidential Search Committee, said, “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.”

The service of Dr Laurie Quinn as Interim President is greatly appreciated by the Board of Trustees and Champlain community. Dr Quinn will fully take up her role as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academics at the conclusion of her term on June 30, 2020.

Dr Quinn welcomed the new president with these words: “It’s my honour to congratulate and warmly welcome Dr Akande to lead the Champlain community as our next President. Complex times test great leaders, and we are fortunate to be a strong community with a great new leader transitioning in at this time. I’ll be proud to serve on Dr Akande’s team and to chart Champlain’s future together.”

Dr Akande was born in Nigeria and went to the United States at the age of 17 in pursuit of a college degree. His parents, Samuel and Comfort Ola. Akande, who respect for and believe in the value of the American higher education system, instilled that respect and belief in their children.

The respect inspired Dr Akande, whose professional success is motivated by the power of education to change lives. Dr Akande and his wife, Bola Taiwo-Akande, a pharmacist and entrepreneur, will relocate to Burlington this summer with their three adult daughters.


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