New Adventist Medical School
on African Continent
(Posted June 13, 2012)
BY LAEL CAESAR, an associate editor of the Adventist Review
When chancellor Gilbert Wari pronounced the words of inauguration on Friday, June 1, 2012, Babcock University [BU] became the fourth Seventh-day Adventist medical school worldwide, and the first on the African continent. Wari's pronouncement came as the official high point of a historic and engaging four-and-a-half-hour ceremony, from 10 a.m. through 2:30 p.m., where some 500 attendees witnessed the establishment of BU’s eighth academic unit, the school of medicine named in honor of world-renowned neurosurgeon Benjamin S. Carson, Sr. Following a welcome address by university president and vice chancellor James A. Kayode Makinde, the crowd was addressed by state education commissioner Honorable John Odubela, representing Senator Ibukunle Amosun, executive governor of Ogun state, BU’s home state.
Chairing the proceedings was Professor Iheanyichukwu Okoro, BU senior vice president and provost of the College of Health and Medical Sciences where the school of medicine resides. Conspicuous among the assembled guests,and honoring the assembly with words of commendation and a commitment to continued partnership, was Kabiyesi Oba Michael Olufemi Mojeed Sonuga, king of Ilishan, and the one who donated the land on which the medical school now stands.
Representing the Adventist Church’s world president Ted N. C. Wilson and the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists were general vice president Benjamin Schoun, along with his counterpart Delbert Baker and world education director Lisa Beardsley-Hardy. Several members of BU’s governing council, including chair and prochancellor Oyeleke Owolabi, and vice chair Bassey Udoh, represented the West Central Africa Division, BU’s home division. Vice chancellor Makinde also took great pleasure in welcoming and introducing George and Dorothy Bolleteri, president and CEO of Medical Bridges, a Houston, Texas, based organization that he said was responsible for assisting BU with obtaining 80 percent of the medical equipment available for the school of medicine.
Presenting the full endorsement of Nigeria’s National Universities Commission [NUC] for BU’s new undertaking was Professor Julius Okojie, executive secretary of the commission. His strong, positive affirmation was illustrative of BU’s excellent relationship and close cooperation with its various publics, further indicated by felicitations received from the chair of county local government Femi Adeniyi, the presence of the permanent secretary for the minister of labor and productivity Chief Wogu, as well as representatives of other state and private universities from around the Federal Republic of Nigeria and all across the African continent.
One of the ceremony’s most moving moments came when Professor Okoro, along with Professor Barnabas Mandong, dean of the School of Medicine, and the chief medical officer for student matriculation Ani, presented the school's pioneer class of students, and called on them to stand for their whitecoat ceremony. The program concluded with a benediction by the Methodist archbishop of Ibadan, M. Kehinde Stephen, after which another hour was dedicated to a tour of the school’s facilities, before guests were entertained at a sumptuous banquet on the grounds of the vice chancellor’s residence.