Professor Olasumbo Odeyemi of the Department of Biology and a former Vice Chancellor of Chrisland University, Abeokuta has been described as visionary leader, an academic of no mean substance and a service delivery leader. These were the accolades showered on the don by Friends, Family, Staff and students of the Federal University of Technology Akure in a valedictory lecture, 70th Birthday and retirement service organized in her honour.
Speaking at the occasion the Vice Chancellor Professor Adenike Oladiji described Professor Odeyemi as an amiable, compassionate teacher and mentor who served the university meritoriously in various management positions. She lauded her contributions to the Federal University of Technology Akure since she joined its services on 1st January 1984.
The Vice Chancellor lauded the don whose career spanned over thirty years serving FUTA diligently and excellently in positions at different times such as pioneer Associate Director, Pre-Degree Science Programme(PDS) and University Diploma in Science Programme (UDS) where she played a huge role in its monumental success , pioneer Director, Centre for Entrepreneurship and Gender Issues in Science and Technology CEGIST, Head of Department of Biology, and Chairman and Member of over 43 ad hoc and standing Committees.
The Vice Chancellor said in all her endeavours, she was selfless and displayed a dogged commitment to course she believed in which culminated to her being appointed as pioneer Vice Chancellor, Chrisland University, Abeokuta, Ogun State. She said the service organized in her honour was befitting and urged her not to relent in providing academic leadership for her mentees and others in the university community.
Delivering the valedictory lecture, titled Professor (Mrs.) Olasumbo Odeyemi- the treasured image of the Unseen, the Director, CEGIST, Engr. Professor Christiana Ijagbemi described the esteemed professor as a brave frontier, sagacious leader, mentor, leader of leaders in the world of academia in Nigeria and across the globe. She said Professor Odeyemi was an industrious public servant, an astute administrator who contributed globally to the development of humanity, science and technology.
The Lecturer likened the milestones of Professor Odeyemi to life which she said is not a straight-line graph or singular journey that starts and ends following a single but predictable path. Thus, despite the roadblocks in her life, she overcame all and blazed the trail with monumental achievements that are worthy of emulation.
X-raying the highpoints of Professor Odeyemi’s service to FUTA, she said the searchlight of the then Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Adeniyi beamed on her and she was appointed pioneer associate director the Pre-Degree in Science Programme of the Centre for Continuing Education. She credited the success of the programme of to her sterling performance where she displayed a rare combination of vision, fairness and understanding, which are crucial qualities of an effective leader.
Professor Ijagbemi said in the same vein, the succeeding Vice Chancellor, Professor Adebisi Balogun equally saw the unseen and untapped treasures in this amiable academic gem and appointed her as the pioneer Director pf the Centre for Gender Issues inn Science and Technology CEGIST. She said Professor Olusola Odeyemi ran the Centre effectively, building a great legacy. She also pointed out that Professor Odeyemi facilitated the donation of the CEGIST building by the Former Governor of Ekiti State, Engr. Segun Oni to FUTA.
Ijagbemi pointed out that “Professor Odeyemi saw the need to equip the teeming unemployed youths in the nation and made substantial efforts at reducing the rate of unemployment and this passion necessitated her proposal for the introduction of entrepreneurial studies to enable staff, students and the general public acquire Certificate in Entrepreneurship from FUTA. She said Odeyemi was leaving big shoes to fill but was optimistic that her legacies will endure and all the lives she has touched within and outside the university will accordingly emulate her positive qualities.
Former Vice Chancellor, Professor Peter Adeniyi spoke glowingly of Odeyemi’s attributes describing her as an effective hard worker and a goal getter. He said she was a woman of substance, highly intelligent and industrious. He said when he appointed her as the Pioneer Associate Director of the Pre Degree-Programmes, he was confident of her abilities and she did not disappoint in the delivery of her mandate.
Extolling her virtues, the Dean, School of Life Sciences, Professor Michael Ashamo, said “I have come across several people, in life who have positively influenced my life one way or the other. They have contributed to making me what I am today. One prominent person among these people is my supervisor, mentor, encourager, adviser, Professor Odeyemi. I was the first PhD student she would supervise. She is an astute thoroughbred teacher, researcher, scholar, effective manager of resources, a courageous woman, mother to many and highly disciplined and principled”
There were goodwill messages from eminent personalities and highpoint of the occasion was the launch of a book written by Professor Odeyemi titled- Organisms and Environment; Impact on natural resources in the tropics.