Alumni Chapter History
Sometime in 2014, a cohort of former students of the University of Lagos began informal discussions about establishing a chapter of the alumni association to provide former students of the University resident in North America, a formal platform to support the University in multifarious ways. At the time, such an aspiration seemed daunting given previous attempts that had failed to get off the ground, or fizzled out despite the conveners' best intentions.
Hon. Tope Ogunsulire had initially broached the idea with Mr. Taiwo 'Dotun Ogunleye, who then reached out to Hons. Ponmile Oloyede and Sola Davis, both of whom indicated interest. Further outreach was made to additional members who constituted the initial core membership of the chapter*. That initial core had geographical presence in at least 8 states in the United States- including the states of Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Illinois, New York, Texas, Maryland and the province of Alberta in Canada.
This being pre-Zoom days, getting a group of enthusiasts who were strewn across North America relied on a great deal of resourcefulness: free-riding on toll-free conference lines carrying out deliberations that stretched on for hours, focused squarely on increasing membership and
While well aware that there were probably at least more than a couple of thousands of students in these 2 countries, the group consciously restricted initial membership and deliberations to a relatively small number for a couple of reasons: to avoid teleconference meetings becoming unmanageable and unwieldy; and to allow the association operate more nimbly and better navigate teething problems that typically bedeviled any such fledgling initiative. It was especially fortuitous that the paths of these new set of protagonists had crossed at Akoka and this proved crucial in maintaining a sense of engagement among all involved.
After the initial bedding-in period, an interim slate of officers was elected- Hons. Taiwo Ogunleye and Ponmile Oloyede as Interim President and Interim Secretary respectively. To continue the formalization process, the board requested a copy of National Constitution from then-Secretary General of the National Association, Dr. Aaron Akinloye, that was further adapted by Hon. David Asekomhe.
The entire process culminated in the incorporation of the association in the state of Michigan as a limited liability company by Hon. Ogunleye, a choice dictated by certain stipulations in the United States governing the registration and finances of non-profit organizations, and the incumbent leadership took that approach with a view towards a future when members of the larger society could be invited to serve on the board of directors to aid the transition to a full-fledged non-profit.
With all these foundational elements in place, the interim executive board announced its intention to hold a first-of-its-kind reunion and convention in the city of Houston, Texas in the United States of America over the weekend of July 14th and 15th 2017. The board saw the convention as a strategic imperative, believing that it would elicit interest among the alumni population, and provide a multiplier effect to support the website that had, up till that point, served as a one-stop shop for registration of members.
The first night of the reunion/convention was held at the Hilton Houston Galleria Area starting off with a townhall meeting with the Vice Chancellor of the university- Professor Rahmon Bello, and the National President of the University of Lagos Alumni Association- Olorogun Sonny Kuku. Afterwards, members formally adopted the constitution and elected the first set of substantive officers, under the leadership of Hon. Dr. Segun Oladunjoye.
The second day featured a keynote by Dr. Vincent Olatunji of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), a distinguished and experienced professional who had been closely involved in the formulation of Technology policy in Nigeria, and Ghaniyat Tope Fajengbesi among many others. Both speeches centered on the theme of the convention: “Digital Economy: Knowledge and Growth Innovation for Sustainable Growth, a topic chosen to support efforts towards building up capacity in the emerging field of Digital Technology and boost economic productivity and growth in Nigeria. Members then converged at a closing dinner banquet at the Ayva Center in Houston, TX on the night of 15th July 2017 to present awards to deserving alumni, as well as present the newly-elected officers to the public for the first time.
Dr. Jelili Adebiyi
Dr. Azeez Butali