US-based Nigerian, Prof. Ilesanmi Adesida becomes first black Provost/Vice-Chancellor at the University of Illinois, USA

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.

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.

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.

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.