By Sunday Saanu
As a way of giving back to the university that produced him, retired Professor Olabode Lucas has instituted three categories of annual prizesto the tune of two million naira (N2 million), describing the gesture as a mark of appreciation and promotion of the University of Ibadan where he graduated in 1969.
Accompanied by his wife and some friends, Prof. Lucas who retired from the university after spending 32 years as a member of staff remarked that the annual prizes were not meant for personal aggrandizement, but rather to promote academic excellence, adding “this is not the first time I will be endowing scholarship, when I was in London, I established one and it is still running”
The new prizes, according to the Professor of Agronomy, include Omoworare Lucas Prize for the ,produced in UI every session for the next 10 years, attracting the sum of One hundred thousand naira (NI00,000) in honour of his mother, Mrs. Felicia Omoworare Lucas. He gave one million naira to this effect.
Also, the benefactor instituted Olabode Lucas Prizes for the Best Practical Year Student at 400 level and the Final Year in the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. These prizes attract the sum of fifty thousand naira each. Prof. Lucas explained that this particular prize was endowed to mark his tenure as the former Chairman of Agriculture and Forestry Practical Year Training Programme.
Responding, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole who commended the donor for his magnanimity noted that Prof. Lucas had invalidated the notion in some quarters that Nigerians don’t give, stating that “it is gratifying to see a retire academic giving back to his alma mater”
Prof. Adewole who said benefaction was a standard practice all over the world disclosed that many lecture rooms were endowed by individuals, calling on other well meaning alumni and alumnae to emulate Prof. Lucas in assisting the university.
According to the VC “I, myself will have to emulate Prof. Lucas by instituting an endowment in honour of my father. If all of us here can contribute little here and there, it will go a long way to advance UI as a little drop of water could make a mighty ocean”
Prof. Adewole also thanked the wife of the benefactor, Mrs. Abeke Lucas for supporting her husband’s idea, saying a selfish wife would have discouraged her husband from giving out.
Born 27 February, 1945, Prof. Lucas attended UI between 1966 and 1969. He
was the Chairman, Practical Year Training Programme (1984-1996), Dean,
Faculty of Agriculture & Forestry (1992-1994),Dean, Postgraduate
School,(1994-1998), Member, University Governing Council,(2002-2007)
and Head, Department of Agronomy (2002-2005).