The Professorial Inaugural Lecture Series at Ibadan is as old as the establishment of the University of Ibadan as a College of the University of London, with the first of such Inaugural Lectures presented on perhaps the most famous Foundation Day on the University of Ibadan calendar, 17th November 1948. That was the day the then British Secretary of State for the Colonies and an influential member of the Elliot Commission, Arthur Creech Jones, turned the first sod at the permanent site of the University College Ibadan, although the 104 foundation students had begun their courses some 10 months earlier at the Eleyele temporary site.
The Inaugural Lecture Series has since then been part of the deliberate efforts by successive Management of the institution to maintain an active academic environment. Many members of the University Community and the general public look forward to most Thursday evenings to attend the University Inaugural that used to hold at the Faculty of Education Lecture Theatre up until January 2010, before the venue was relocated to Trenchard Hall.
Up till some six years ago, the University of Ibadan Inaugural Lecture Series used to be numbered per session without any recourse to the Lectures presented in earlier years. The following paragraphs, attempt to provide the basis for the current template of a serial numbering of the Inaugural Lectures is made.
The Postgraduate School Interdisciplinary Discourse Series at the University of Ibadan had been introduced under Professor Aderemi O. Kuku as Dean in 1990. Sometimes in the year 2003 during my first term as the Dean of the Postgraduate School, I invited the then Dean of the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Prof Francis A. A. Adeniyi (now of blessed memory), to present the first Postgraduate Discourse under my watch as Dean. He gladly accepted my humble offer but he asked me a seemingly simple question to the effect that how many of such Discourses had been presented previously. I had thought it was going to be a fairly simple task compiling all the Discourses since inception some 13 years. earlier.
Subsequent events later proved me wrong as I had underestimated the enormous task of accurately keeping such archival records. It turned out that as of the time Professor Adeniyi was to present his Discourse a complete serial numbering of all the previous Discourses was not available. I apologised to him for my inability to attend to his request. Nonetheless, I thought it was a task worth the while in executing. The faintest ink is often a better record than the most retentive memory. There is a limit to which we can rely on oral tradition in record keeping. At that point in time, I had thought that no female academic had presented the Postgraduate School Discourse but this turned out to be false. The highly respected and Eminent Historian, Professor Bolanle Awe, had in truth delivered one of such Discourses.
Happily, we were able to get the list ready, which comprised a dozen lectures, before the next Discourse a few months later and it has ever since then become very seamless to add subsequent Discourses to the series.
Serial Numbering of Inaugural Lectures
Fast forward a decade later by which time I was on my second term as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of the institution, we thought it wise to number the Inaugural Lecture Series serially, from the beginning in 1948.
We tried to compile a comprehensive list of all the Inaugural Lectures presented in the University, from 1948. This was to later prove to be a daunting task, as the first draft was grossly incomplete and unsatisfactory.
We appealed to all Heads of Departments, Directors of Institutes and Deans of Faculties to kindly help cross-check the first draft and indicate the missing or wrong entries. In retrospect, we wish to thank all the colleagues who reacted in writing to the earlier call for amendments to the draft sent to all heads of academic units about four months ago. A list of those who responded is given under the acknowledgement section of this write-up.
It may be pointed out that our passion for the self-imposed mission of compiling a comprehensive list of UI Professorial Inaugural Lectures nearly turned awry with a threat by an aggrieved party to take the author to court. That was one of the hazards of public service, but as usual, God intervened in the matter. The story will probably be told someday in the future if I can write my memoirs.
The University, under my watch as the Vice-Chancellor, commenced the new serial numbering system effective February 2016 and this is still maintained up till now.
The 500th Inaugural Lecture.
The first Inaugural Lecture at Ibadan was presented by P. Christopherson of the Department of English, with the title “Bilingualism”. The series has now happily hit the five-hundredth mark, some 73 years later!
We congratulate the presenter of the 500th Inaugural Lecture, my good friend and colleague, the notable Economist, Omoaregba Omoniyi Aregbeyen, Professor of Economics, and Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences, on behalf of his Faculty. The landmark event holds on Thursday, 2nd September 2021, with the title “THE PUBLIC SECTOR AND DEVELOPMENT”. Hearty congratulations, Dean Aregbeyen.
Thank you and God bless.
Credits: Prof. Idowu Olayinka(VC, University of Ibadan 2015 – 2020).