Professor Grace Alele Williams, a woman of many firsts stands tall as a pacesetter in Nigeria.
Born in 1932 in Delta State, Nigeria, Ms. Alele attended the University College of Ibadan (now known as the University of Ibadan). In 1950,
she began her teaching career, teaching Mathematics in every summer vacation at Hussey College, Warri Nigeria. After completion of her first degree, she worked as a Mathematics teacher at Queen’s School, Ede, Osun State, between 1954 and 1957.
In 1963, Alele Williams obtained her Ph.D in mathematics Education at the University of Chicago. In 1974 she became the first female professor of mathematics education in 1974.
In 1985, while at the University of Benin, Alele Williams became the first female Vice Chancellor of an African university, she remained in that position until 1991.
Professor Alele-Williams as a member of several boards and commitees has contributed immensely to the development of education in Nigeria. She was Chairman of the Curriculum Review Committee and Lagos State Examinations Boards, was also a member of the Governing Council of UNESCO Institute of Education.
After serving as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin, she joined the board of directors of Chevron-Texaco Nigeria. She was also vice-president of the World Organization for Early Childhood Education and later President of the Nigerian chapter.
A proud recipient of several notable awards, Grace Alele Williams, 88, received National Honours of Order of the Niger in 1987, Fellow of the Mathematical Association of Nigeria and of the Nigerian Academy of Education; Merit Award Winner of Bendel State in Nigeria; and Regional Vice President for Africa of the Third World Organization for Women in Science” (Science in Africa: Women Leading from Strength AAAS, Washington, 1993.