Westminster College Hires First African-American President, Benjamin Ola. Akande

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Benjamin Ola. Akande was named the new president of Westminster College on Friday, becoming the first African-American president in the Fulton school’s 164-year history. Akande, a 52-year-old Nigerian-born American citizen, succeeds George B. Forsythe, who’s retiring after being Westminster’s president for eight years.

Akande has been dean of the George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology at Webster University in St. Louis for the past 15 years.

The announcement concluded the university’s yearlong presidential search, which at one point included 76 candidates, Westminster spokesman Rob Crouse said.

Wallace L. Head, chairman of the Westminster board of trustees, said in a news release that Akande was selected for his academic and administrative qualifications and because “he’s a results-oriented leader with strategic vision and proven experience in the areas of global strategy, marketing and leadership.”

“We’ve achieved our yearlong goal of finding the most qualified person to lead Westminster and to continue executing our strategic plan,” Head said in the release.

Crouse said that Akande has a special eye for scholarships and making college affordable. When Akande lived in Nigeria, an American philanthropist provided a scholarship for him and his sister to come to America and get an education, Crouse said.

“He understands the importance of opening up opportunities for students to better themselves through education,” Crouse said.

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Source: Columbia Missourian | JACK FLEMMING

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