Where are you from?
I was born in Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria. I am from the Yoruba tribe, one of three main groups that inhabit Nigeria. In Nigeria, the community raises the child, so discipline and learning are the responsibility of the community. Growing up in a polygamous family, we children built unique relationships and worked together to foster unity. I have half-brothers and half-sisters who still live in Nigeria. As a youth, I participated in track and field in the sprints and long jump. After high school I moved to Lagos, the business hub of Nigeria, where I got a job and started university.
How did you come to be at the U of L?
I went to the University of Lagos and completed a master’s of science in statistics in 1989. I was retained and taught there from 1991 to 2001. Then I moved to the United States to complete a doctorate degree program starting at Central Michigan University and finishing at Western Michigan University. During my doctorate, my family applied and got approved for Canadian permanent residency. Once I completed my PhD, I applied for teaching positions and was hired by the U of L. I started in 2009 and moved to Lethbridge with my wife Esther, my sons David and Joshua, and my daughter Mercy. Currently, I teach applied and advanced statistics and my areas of research include meta-analysis, multivariate statistics, modelling, as well as the well-being and quality of life of caregivers.
What has it been like to be chief marshal?
In 2016, I was appointed as chief marshal and this has been a great honour for me. It is a thing of joy to see the graduands preparing to cross the stage during convocation ceremonies and have the opportunity to congratulate each of them with a handshake. The chief marshal has many duties leading up to the big day, but also has the honour of leading the convocation march with the U of L mace in hand. I have also had opportunities to visit several elementary schools in southern Alberta with the mace as a way to inspire children to further their education. Working with the GFC convocation committee has also been a highlight of my tenure. May 2019 will be my last convocation ceremonies as chief marshal and I will hand over the mace to Dr. Noella Piquette from the Faculty of Education. She’s going to be an amazing chief marshal and I wish her a successful tenure.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Mathematics can be a scary subject for people, and my desire is that students will leave my classroom feeling more confident about applying their newfound knowledge of statistics to their various disciplines. I love seeing students attaining success both in and out of the classroom, and my hope is that they will come to share my passion of statistics as well.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I almost had my driver’s licence suspended less than 36 hours after moving to Canada. On my way to Calgary to clear our UPS shipments with the Canadian customs services, myself and five other drivers were stopped by the RCMP for speeding. The officer who stopped my vehicle was very stern but when he found out that my family and I had just moved to Canada he chose to give me a warning instead of a ticket. This is God’s favour.