Grace Alele-Williams

Grace Alele-Williams (born December 16, 1932) is an educator who made history as the First Nigerian Female Vice-Chancellor at the University of Benin.[1][2][3] She was also the first Nigerian woman to receive a doctorate degree.[4][5] She is a professor of mathematics education.[6]

Early life and educationEdit

Grace Alele-Williams Born in Warri, Delta state. She attended Government School, Warri, and Queen's College, Lagos. She attended the University College of Ibadan[7][7] (now University of Ibadan). She obtained a master's degree in Mathematics while teaching at Queen's School, Ede in Osun State in 1957 and her Ph.D in Mathematics Education at the University of Chicago (U.S.) in 1963.[7] She made history as the first Nigerian woman to be awarded a doctorate degree. She returned to Nigeria for a couple of years' postdoctoral work at the University of Ibadan before joining the University of Lagos in 1965.[8]

Academic careerEdit

Her teaching career started at Queen's School, Ede Osun State, where she was mathematics teacher from 1954 until 1957.[9] She left for the University of Vermont to become a graduate assistant and later assistant professor. Between 1963 and '65, Alele-Williams was a postdoctoral research fellow, department (and institute) of Education, University of Ibadan from where she was appointed a professor of mathematics at the University of Lagos in 1976.[2] She was the first female Vice Chancellor in Nigeria.

She has held and served in various capacities. By serving in various committees and boards, Alele-Williams had made useful contributions in the development of education in Nigeria. She was chairman of the curriculum review committee, former Bendel State 1973–1979.[10][11][12] From 1979 to 1985, she served as chairman of the Lagos State Curriculum Review Committee and Lagos State Examinations Boards.[13]

Alele-Williams was a member of governing council, UNESCO Institute of Education.[6][14] She is also a consultant to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Institute of International Education Planning.[15][16] For a decade (1963–73) she was a member of the African Mathematics Programme, located in Newton, Massachusetts, United States.[2] She was also vice-president of the World Organisation for Early Childhood Education and later president of the Nigeria chapter.[12] Alele-Williams has published a book titled Modern Mathematics Handbook for Teachers. After serving as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin, she joined the board of directors of Chevron-Texaco Nigeria. She is also on the board of HIP Asset Management Company Ltd, an Asset Management Company in Lagos, Nigeria.[17] Professor Grace Awani Alele-Williams was a force to reckon with in the dark period for Nigeria's higher education. Then, the activities of secret cults, confraternities and societies had spread within the Nigerian Universities especially in University of Benin. She made valuable impacts, with combination of courage, ingenuity and strategy that the growing tide of cultism was stemmed in the university. A task which many men had failed, she was able to make notable contributions.[18]

She has a special interest in women education. While spending a decade directing the Institute of Education, she introduced innovative non degree programmes, allowing older women working as elementary school teachers to receive certificates. Alele-Williams has always demonstrated concern for the access of female African students to scientific and technological subjects.[19]


  1. Dynamics of Curriculum Change in Mathematics - Lagos State Modern Mathematics Project.[20]
  2. Education of Women for National Development.[21]
  3. Report: The Entebbe Mathematics Project.[22]
  4. The Development of Modern Mathematics Curriculum in Africa.[23]
  5. Education and Government in Northern Nigeria.[citation needed]
  6. Education and Status of Nigerian Women.[citation needed]
  7. Science, Technology and Mathematics (STM) Education for all, Including Women and Girls in African.[citation needed]
  8. Major Constraints to Women's Access to Higher Education in Africa.[citation needed]
  9. The Politics of Administering a Nigerian University.[citation needed]
  10. Numerical Methods for Initial Value Problems in Ordinary Differential Equations.[citation needed]
  11. The Political Dilemma of Popular Education: An African Case.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Nkechi Nwankwo (2006), Women Leadership in Nigeria: Stories of Four Women Role Models, Lagos: Deutchetz Publishers. Review Archived 2012-06-26 at the Wayback Machine by Theresa Onwughalu in the Daily Sun, July 25, 2006.
  2. ^ a b c "Biographical sketches of famous African mathematicians: Grace Alele Williams", AMUCHMA Newsletter, African Mathematical Union, Commission on the History of Mathematics in Africa, 12.
  3. ^ "Prof. Mrs. Grace Alele Williams OFR, HLR". Hallmarks of Labour Foundation. November 28, 2011. Archived from the original on December 16, 2013. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
  4. ^ "Grace Alele Williams". Retrieved 2017-05-27.
  5. ^ "5 women who have made their marks in education". 2018-03-08. Retrieved 2019-03-20.
  6. ^ a b Taire, Morenike (April 14, 2018). "Grace Alele-Williams: Mathematician who dealt with cultism at UNIBEN". Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "Personality of The Week – Grace Alele williams". SilverbirdTV. 2014-11-20. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  8. ^ "Grace Alele Williams - Black Women in Mathematics". Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  9. ^ Larry Riddle, "Grace Alele Williams", Biographies of Women Mathematicians, Agnes Scott College.
  10. ^ "Grace Alele-Williams". Heels of Influence. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  11. ^ "Grace Alele-Williams". Heels of Influence. Retrieved 2020-05-25.
  12. ^ a b admin. "Grace awani ALELE-WILLIAMS – Legacy Way". Retrieved 2020-05-02.
  13. ^ "Grace Alele Williams - Black Women in Mathematics". The State University of New York at Buffalo. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  14. ^ "Grace Alele-Williams: Mathematician who dealt with cultism at UNIBEN - Vanguard News". Vanguard News. 2018-04-14. Retrieved 2018-05-22.
  15. ^ "Women in Higher Education Management" (PDF). Unesco: 7. Retrieved January 13, 2014. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  16. ^ "Grace Alele Williams; Black Women in Mathematics". The State University of New York at Buffalo. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
  17. ^ "Grace Alele-Williams (1932 - )". Retrieved 2020-05-07.
  18. ^ "Grace Alele-Williams: Mathematician who dealt with cultism at UNIBEN - Vanguard News". Vanguard News. 2018-04-14. Retrieved 2018-05-22.
  19. ^ "Grace Alele-Williams: Mathematician who dealt with cultism at UNIBEN". Vanguard News. 2018-04-14. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  20. ^ Williams, Grace Alele (1974). "Dynamics of Curriculum Change in Mathematics--Lagos State Modern Mathematics Project". West African Journal of Education.
  21. ^ Alele-Williams, G. (1986). "Education of Women for National Development". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  22. ^ Williams, Grace Alele (1971-06-01). "Report: The entebbe mathematics project". International Review of Education. 17 (2): 210–214. Bibcode:1971IREdu..17..210W. doi:10.1007/BF01421114. ISSN 1573-0638.
  23. ^ WILLIAMS, GRACE A. ALELE (1976). "The development of a modern mathematics curriculum in Africa". The Arithmetic Teacher. 23 (4): 254–261. ISSN 0004-136X. JSTOR 41188955.

External linksEdit