Former vice-chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife Professor Cyril Onwumechili has died aged 91.
A statement on Friday by the university’s spokesman Abiodun Olarewaju said the former VC was a visionary leader, an exceptional academic, and a compassionate individual who made invaluable contributions to the growth and success of the institution.
Onwumechili was the university’s fourth substantive vice-chancellor from 1979 to 1982.
The statement said the renowned physicist played a pivotal role in shaping the university’s trajectory, steering it towards excellence, and upholding its commitment to academic rigor, innovation, and societal impact.
The OAU management also noted the late university helmsman was a detribalised Nigerian and a renowned academic of high repute.
Reacting to Onwumechili’s death, the current OAU VC Prof. Simeon Bamire said the deceased championed progressive policies, fostered a vibrant academic community, and strived for inclusivity, leaving an indelible mark on 62 year-old University and the countless lives he touched.
Bamire further said, “Under Professor Cyril Onwumechili’s leadership, the University experienced remarkable growth and advancement in various fields of study, research, and outreach as he spearheaded strategic initiatives that fostered interdisciplinary collaboration, established partnerships with renowned institutions worldwide, and ensured the university’s relevance in an ever-evolving global landscape.
”Professor Onwumechili was an exceptional scholar, renowned for his groundbreaking research as a Physicist who inspired generations of students and faculty members through his profound knowledge, unwavering dedication, and unrelenting pursuit of academic excellence.
“Professor Onwumechili was a compassionate mentor, a trusted confidant whose genuine concern for the well-being of staff, students and faculty resonated deeply within the University community, fostering an environment of support, growth and collaboration.”