Nigerian Becomes First Black President Of Westminster College



Nigeria’s Dr. Benjamin Ola Akande of St. Louis, Missouri, has been named the 21st president of the 164-year-old Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, PM News reports.

He will take office July 1, succeeding Dr. George B. Forsythe, president since 2008, who is retiring after 10 years at Westminster.

Dr. Akande, a Nigerian-born American citizen, was introduced Friday, May 8, to a large audience of about 200 faculty, staff and students.

He served as a professor of Economics and Dean of the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University in St. Louis. He also leads Webster’s global Office of Corporate Partnerships.

“We’re proud to introduce Dr. Akande as president of Westminster College,” said Wallace L. Head, chairman of the Westminster Board of Trustees.

“We’ve achieved our year-long goal of finding the most qualified person to lead Westminster and to continue executing our strategic plan.

“It includes developing leaders for a global community by establishing one of the country’s most internationally diverse colleges, and maintaining a graduate placement rate that exceeds 95 percent,” he added.

Raised in Nigeria, Dr. Akande came to the U.S. to attend Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, TX, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He earned his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Oklahoma, and completed his post-doctoral studies at Harvard and Oxford.

Wallace Head said Dr. Akande was selected for his academic and administrative qualifications and because “he’s a results-oriented leader with strategic vision and proven experience in the areas of global strategy, marketing, and leadership.”

Akande said he proudly accepts this new challenge and looks forward to continuing Westminster’s mission.

“Westminster offers a distinctive destination for undergraduate education focused on student achievement and diversity, which are critically important,” he said. “We must prepare graduates to live and work in a world that is far more diverse and richer in new opportunities than ever before.”

Dr. Akande also recognised Webster University’s administration and faculty for the support and opportunity they provided the past 15 years.

Westminster College is the nation’s eighth-highest ranked small liberal arts college for percentage of international students. Westminster’s nearly 1,000 students are from 28 U.S. states and 76 countries worldwide.

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