The Deputy Governor of Delta State, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, has expressed sadness over the death of renowned mathematician, Prof. Grace Alele-Williams, describing it as a great loss to Delta State, Nigeria and the African continent.

Alele-Williams, who passed on Friday evening in Lagos at the age of 89 years, was born in Warri, Delta State. She obtained her PhD degree in Mathematics Education at the University of Chicago, United States of America, USA, in 1963, thereby becoming the first Nigerian woman to be awarded a doctorate. She was also the first female Vice-Chancellor of a Nigerian University, UNIBEN.

In a condolence message via his verified Facebook account, the governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said the late erudite professor was a woman of many firsts.

“On behalf of my family, I join the government and people of Delta State to extend my heartfelt condolences to the Williams-Alele family and the entire Itsekiri nation over the passing of a mother and a timeless academic icon; Professor Grace Alele-Williams.

“Without missing words, the lifetime accomplishments of the late professor of Mathematics are sterling and are phenomenal by every standard. As the first Nigerian woman to ever obtained a doctorate and the first female Vice-Chancellor in Nigeria, she shattered the glass ceiling.

“These extraordinary feats of the late Professor Grace epitomize diligence, determination, vision, hard work, and the audacity of faith and will serve as inspirations for many generations to come. She was an academic doyen of global repute.

“We celebrate and honour her dedication to duty, courage, commitment to nationhood, profound contributions to the study of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in Nigeria and across Africa especially encouraging the girl-child in STEM.

“These are just a few among several of her invaluable contributions to the development of the Nigerian education sector. The Nigerian State and indeed the African continent have lost a great treasure/asset. However, her memory will forever live on. I hope we find comfort in her invaluable service to humanity.

“My hearts and prayers are with the immediate family and the entire Itsekiri nation during these difficult times. May the good Lord grant her soul eternal rest”, Otuaro prayed.

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