A Nigerian, Prof. Ilesanmi Adesida becomes first black VC in American varsity.


A Nigerian, Prof. Ilesanmi Adesida becomes first black VC in American varsity.
A Nigerian, Prof. Ilesanmi Adesida becomes first black VC in American varsity.
A United States of America-based Nigerian lecturer, Prof. Ilesanmi Adesida, has become the first black man to be appointed the Provost/Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, United States of America.

Born in 1949 at Ifon, a town in Ondo State, Adesida, a professor of Electronic Engineering with outstanding works in nanotechnology, was appointed by the search committee of the institution on May 31, this year.

His appointment, according to a statement placed on the website of the institution, took effect from August 15 this year.

Before his appointment, Adesida was the Dean, College of Engineering of the institution.

According to the university’s Vice-President and Chancellor, Dr. Phyllis Wise, Adesida succeeds Linda P.B. Katehi-Tseregounis, who last served the role on a permanent basis.

Senior campus administrators who served in the position on an interim basis after Dr. Katehi-Tseregounis’ departure were Robert Easter and Richard Wheeler.

Adesida, a former Head of Department, Electrical Engineering, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Bauchi State, will oversee the institution’s academic programmes, policies and priorities, which have been designed to ensure the quality of the educational experience for students and to sustain an environment that encourages and supports academic excellence. He was at ABTU between 1985 and 1987.

But now as the chief academic officer of UI, Adesida will work closely with the Chancellor, other vice-chancellors, the deans of academic colleges and other units, academic staff, the Faculty Senate, and various committees in setting overall academic priorities for the university.

The university has a budget of $1.5b with more than $400m in research expenditures. There are 42,000 students and 3,000 faculty members. The university is renowned for its interdisciplinary collaborations, advances in human understanding, community outreach, global partnerships, and life-changing scientific developments.

By his appointment, Adesida, who graduated with a Bachelors of Science, Master’s and PhD in electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1974, 1975 and 1979 respectively, will become one of the highest paid academics in the US.

According to UI’s Vice-President and the Chancellor, Dr. Phyllis Wise, the cerebral don will earn $430,000 per annum, about N67.51m. With this amount, Adesida’s annual salary is $30,000 higher than President Barrack Obama, who earns $400,000 per year.

Commenting on his appointment, Adesida, who is now a naturalised American, was quoted by a news agency as expressing happiness at the university’s gesture.

Adesida said, “I’m honoured and humbled to be selected as vice-chancellor/provost of this great campus (university). This is something I take very seriously. I know how to work very hard and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get the job done.”

According to the website of the university, Adesida is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Vacuum Society, and the Optical Society of America. He is also the past-president of IEEE Electron Devices Society.

His outstanding work in the field of Nanotechnology has received much acclaim in the scientific community. He has developed a body of work in the processing of semiconductors and other materials at the nanometer-scale level.

After his studies, he worked in various capacities at what is now known as the Cornell Nanofabrication Facility and the School of Electrical Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

In June 2005, Adesida became the 13th dean since the inception of the College of Engineering in 1870.

He joined UI as a faculty member in 1988 and he is currently the Donald Biggar Willett Professor of Engineering, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Director of the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology.

Adesida has previously served as the Director of the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory and the Associate Director for education of the NSF Engineering Research Centre for Compound Semiconductor Microelectronics.

According to the university’s website, Adesida’s research interests include nanofabrication processes and ultra-high-speed optoelectronics.

He also has extensive experience in development of novel processes for wide band gap materials such as silicon carbide and gallium nitride. He has also worked on ultra-high-speed photo detectors and photo receivers in various materials systems.

Adesida has chaired many international conferences, including serving as the Programme and General Chair of the Electronic Materials Conference, 2000-2003. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Vacuum Society and Optical Society of America. He is past-president of IEEE Electron Devices Society, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

According to an appointment notice on the institution’s website, Adesida will also continue as Donald Biggar Willett Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, non-tenured, on an academic year service basis, on zero per cent time, with an increment of $5,000, effective August 16, 2012, for a total annual salary of $430,000.

“In addition, Adesida will continue to hold the following appointments on terms which were effective August 16, 2011: Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, on indefinite tenure, on an academic year service basis, on zero per cent time, non-salaried; Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering, non-tenured, on an academic year service basis, on zero per cent time, non-salaried; Professor, Coordinated Science Laboratory, College of Engineering, non-tenured, on an academic year service basis, on zero per cent time, non-salaried; Research Professor, Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory, College of Engineering, non-tenured, on an academic year service basis, on zero per cent time, non-salaried; Institute Affiliate, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, office of the VC for Research, non-tenured, on an academic year service basis, on zero per cent time, non-salaried; and Institute Affiliate, Institute of Genomic Biology.”

by Segun Olugbile


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