Ogunrinade: a distinguished academic career

MASERU — Professor Adelani Ogunrinade, who died last Saturday, was born 56 years ago in Nigeria. He graduated from the University of Ibadan with a degree in veterinary medicine obtaining distinctions in medicine, surgery and parasitology in 1974.

He won the University of Ibadan Prize for Postgraduate Studies, the DH Hill Prize in Veterinary Medicine and the Coomassie Prize for Overall Best Student — all in 1974.

He was immediately appointed Lecturer II in the Department of Veterinary Pathology in 1975.  He proceeded to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, where he obtained a Master’s degree in Medical Parasitology bagging another  distinction  in 1977.

He became the first African to obtain a distinction in that subject in the history of the school.

He obtained another Master’s degree in Applied Immunology at the Brunel University at Uxbridge in 1978 and a PhD in Medical Helminthology in the London School of Tropical Medicine (University of London) in 1982.

In 1984, he was awarded the prestigious Fogarty Fellowship to proceed to Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA, for postdoctoral studies and there he worked on the use of monoclonal antibodies in immunoassays for the detection of Onchocerca volvulus antigens.  Onchocerca volvulus is a worm that causes blindness in three million Africans.

Upon his return to Nigeria, he was promoted professor in 1985 at the age of 35 at the University of Ibadan — Nigeria’s premier university.

He had wide and varied administrative experience — having been Head of Department (1986-88), Dean of the Graduate School, University of Ibadan (1990-94) and Senate representative on Council at Ibadan (1995-97).

He was appointed deputy vice-chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, in 1997 holding the office between 1997-2001 at the time of transformation and academic restructuring of the university.

His service as Dean of Graduate School at Ibadan was characterised by great strides such as the fundraising for the provision of the MKO Abiola Travel awards for staff and students to attend conferences, the institution of multidisciplinary grants and the erection of two administrative buildings within the period of his four-year tenure.

At Wits, one of his major achievements was that he led the postgraduate studies best practice tour to Australia, UK and US which produced the blueprint for the establishment of three graduate schools  at Wits.

He was also the chairman of the Advisory Board of the Faculties of Health Sciences, Commerce, Law and Education.

He was Associate Vice-President at the University of Technology, Jamaica, between 2002 and 2006 and was responsible for innovative capacity building programmes in research and graduate studies, the introduction of research and graduate policies, the introduction of awards and incentives for research and innovation and the production of the university journal at the university.

An accomplished academic, Professor Ogunrinade published widely (75 refereed articles and 30 conference proceedings, two book chapters and an edited book) on the pathogenesis and immunology of parasitic diseases  especially on river blindness (onchocerciasis ) in man and liver fluke (fascioliasis ) in livestock.

He also published about 12 articles on higher education.

He supervised eight PhD and four Masters students. Professor Ogunrinade was a recipient of several honours, awards and grants including the Thomas-Wellcome Prize for Biomedical research in 1992, the Association of University Technology Managers Award for Technology professionals (2005) and the  International Society for Research Administrators (SRA) Certificate of Achievement (2005).

He was appointed vice-chancellor at the National University of Lesotho in December 2006.

He was suspended in August 2009 for alleged misappropriation of funds and taking leave without authorisation.

He was fired in February 2010 but at the time of his death Ogunrinade was challenging the decision.

He is survived by his wife and children. — Sourced from NUL website.

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