Men of wit and means in the academia joined family and friends on October 5th and 9th, 2023 at the School of Environmental Technology Special Board of Studies and Valedictory Celebration at the T. I. Francis Auditorium of the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA to commemorate the 70th birthday and retirement from service of an academic par excellence and one of the leading lights of Industrial Design in Nigeria, Professor Sunday Roberts Ogunduyile. The event which ushered in a new phase of life for the Professor of Industrial Design also captured the launch of his 426-page book in textile and designs, showcasing his wealth of experience garnered over the years in active service, having served as Head of Industrial Department; two-time Dean, School of Environmental Technology; Managing Director, FUTA Business Development Company; Member, FUTA Governing Council; and Chair, Publications Committee before his appointment as Vice Chancellor, Ondo State University of Science and Technology, now Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa.
Extolling his sterling qualities while presenting the new retiree to the gathering, the Dean, School of Environmental Technology, Professor Isaac Aje described Professor Ogunduyile as an epitome of humility, hard work, dedication and selflessness. He recounted his contributions to the formation and development of both the Department of Industrial Design and the School of Environmental Technology. He particularly harped on the brilliance of Professor Ogunduyile which formed a major contribution to the curriculum development of the Department of Industrial Design. This curriculum, according to him is the bedrock on which the Department’s current curriculum is derived.
He further noted that the distinguished Professor of Textile Design has authored and published over 60 Articles in his area of specialization in reputable local and international journals and referred Conference Proceedings. He also explained that Professor Ogunduyile has over 14 creative works and exhibitions and has made significant contributions to books, and successfully mentored many young academics in the Department, in addition to supervising 22 Masters Dissertations and 16 Doctoral theses.
Speaking with nostalgia, Professor Aje added that the Celebrant has been a great mentor and an academic father to a number of staff and students in the Department of Industrial Design and the School of Environmental Technology as a whole. He mentioned that the Celebrant is enthusiastic, highly placed and productive academically and morally, in addition to being honest, talented, creative and handy in problem solving and conflict resolution.
Describing him as a benchmark to staff and students; as well as a national and international treasure, the Dean said that Professor Ogunduyile is a recipient of many Distinctions and Awards ranging from a Leadership Award by the National Association of Environmental Students to FUTA Governing Council Award for outstanding contributions to the Development of the University, as well as Career Service Award from Ahmadu Bello University Alumni Association (International) and Outstanding Oodua Vice Chancellor of 2021 Award.
The Chairman of the occasion, Professor Ahmed Tijani Mora, a former President of the Ahmadu Bello University Alumni Association Worldwide, described Professor Ogunduyile as a unique man who contributed immensely to the academic development of his area of core competence. Reminiscing on their younger days at ABU, he said Professor Ogunduyile was a man of uncommon doggedness and tenacity of purpose who knew what he wanted and went for it. “He was employed as a clerical officer at ABU but through dint of hard work and determination and vision he became a lecturer and also got his doctorate from the same University where he started off as a clerical assistant. He is a worthy example for young people. I celebrate him,” Professor Mora said.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Adenike Oladiji, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Development, Professor Sunday Oluyamo congratulated the retiring Professor on his successful retirement and for the privilege to be celebrated at 70. She noted with a sense of pride his immense contributions to the development of FUTA and body of knowledge in his area of specialization.” He is a man of his word and committed to social responsibility within his work and living communities. We pray for God’s grace and health in the coming years and wish the celebrant a happy retirement,” the Vice Chancellor stated.
Delivering the Valedictory Lecture on the topic “Education and National Development”, the Vice Chancellor, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Professor Olugbenga Ige who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Professor Olusegun Akinwumi reiterated that proper implementation and adequate funding will pave way for educational and national development. He stressed that no nation in the world can advance beyond the intellectual capacity of its citizens, adding that the 21st century is characterized by a knowledge driven society and economy in which a nation’s competitive advantage encompasses knowledge, innovation, technology, human and natural resource that are derived from its number of well-educated people. He emphasized the critical importance of education to the development of Nigeria with regards to current world trends.
He acknowledged scholars like Professor Ogunduyile’s contributions to national development and inquired into government’s ability to absorb veterans who had retired from active service to expend their wealth of knowledge for the overall development of the nation. Professor Ige stated that educational objectives of various levels should be clearly defined with the aim of meeting the national demands of development. He said “the pre-primary and primary educational system in Nigeria should be designed to lay foundation for child development and to instill permanent literacy, communication skill and moral reasoning; while the secondary education should be designed to cater to varying talents; and the highest education which include Universities, Colleges of Education, Polytechnics and other related Institutions that play significant roles in producing manpower and human capacity designed for national development.
Professor Ige concluded by celebrating Professor Ogunduyile as an outstanding University administrator who has been a source of wisdom and inspiration to him and many others in numerous ways. He praised his innovative and courageous leadership during his tenure as Vice Chancellor of Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa. He commended him for sincerely applying himself to excellence while in the system and noted that posterity will never forget him.
The Head, Department of Industrial Design, Professor Folorunsho Kayode celebrated Ogunduyile for being an inspiration of wisdom and a trailblazer, who joined hands to lay the foundation for the Industrial Design Department in 1993, and whose leadership was characterized with a caring heart of an amiable nature. He also shed light on Professor Ogunduyile’s unwavering humility, which according to him; will serve as an example for generations of staff and students who intend to leave an enduring legacy.
While felicitating Professor Ogunduyile, Professors, Senior Lecturers corroborated the Dean, commending his resourcefulness, contributions to staff development and for promoting cohesion and coordination in the Department. They spoke highly of his ability to match their level of understanding and form relationships at various levels of life.
His daughter, Mrs. Abimbola Ogunduyile Okonkwo, also described her father as relentless, unassuming and accommodating. She noted that her approach to life has been largely influenced by the simplicity of her multi-talented father. She appreciated the sacrifices made over the years for her and her siblings and prayed for God’s continued protection and guidance.
Responding, Professor Ogunduyile, said that the journey has been intense over the years and just like yesterday, it was over. He noted that he was lucky from the get-go and had been in good relationship with his mentors in the academia. He thanked his colleagues whom he had worked with over the years. He thanked God for sparing his life and giving him the grace to celebrate his retirement in good health, noting that some of the people he began the journey with had long exited the system through different ways.
He encouraged other members of staff remaining in the system to continue to invest in hard work and put their best foot forward always, saying that it would eventually pay off. He also encouraged them to as much as possible live at peace with all men as far it was within their power as it would, according to him, enhance their productivity.
He acknowledged the support of family and friends which have been a source of inspiration to him. He said that he will cherish the memories and experiences he had with the entire staff of Industrial Design Department in particular.
Guests, colleagues, friends and family members from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Ondo City, led by the Osemawe of Ondo Kingdom Oba Adesimbo Victor Kiladejo, where he is a Chief, St. Stephens Anglican Church, Ondo, where he is an active member in addition to the Department of Industrial Design, the School of Environmental Technology and FUTA Community as a whole were present at the celebration of the academic Icon.