Calvin University in the United States has dedicated a corridor on its campus to honour the legacy and impact of Professor Deborah Ajakaiye, who became the first black female physics professor in Africa in 1980.
Ajakaiye has taught at several universities worldwide, including Ahmadu Bello University, where she earned her PhD in geophysics, and the University of Jos, where she served as the dean of natural sciences. She has published over 150 works that have contributed to the creation of a gravity map of Nigeria and the location of Nigerian groundwater and mineral deposits, which have been instrumental in guiding investments and driving growth in the Nigerian economy.
Ajakaiye is also the first female fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Sciences, the first black African to be awarded the Honorary Fellowship of the Geological Society of London, and the first president of the Association of Geoscientists for International Development.
Ajakaiye’s son and daughter-in-law provided a generous gift to create a space at Calvin where women who have made an impact in the history of Calvin, the broader academy, and the world will be celebrated for their impact. They are naming the space after their mother, honoring her for her inspirational work ethic, exceptional leadership skills, humility and approachability, and for her unwavering faith in God.
The corridor that connects the Chapel Patio to the Hekman Library via Hiemenga Hall’s third floor is now named “Dr. Deborah Enilo Ajakaiye Corridor” and will include a wall that honors women who have made an impact. Ajakaiye is the first to have a placard hung in her honor. In addition to the corridor bearing her name, a lecture series at Calvin will as well.
The Ajakaiye Lecture Series will bring guest speakers to campus who will reinforce and elevate the importance of cross-cultural understanding, the richness and beauty of cultural diversity, and the value of cross-cultural intelligence for current and future students of Calvin University.
Ajakaiye remains the president of Christian Care for Widows, Widowers and the Aged (CCWA), an organization she founded, which helps to support the needs of 90,000 widows, widowers, orphans, and the elderly across Nigeria.
Calvin University is a world-class Christian university in Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S., that exists to empower students as they discover a bold, transformative education rooted in Christian conviction. Each year,
Calvin welcomes hundreds of students from around the world who are compelled by God’s work of renewal to join in the formative pursuits of lifelong learning, teaching, scholarship, worship, and service.