Nigerian professor, Toyin Falola, awarded Doctor of Letters

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Toyin Falola, a renowned Nigerian professor of history and African studies, has been awarded the doctor of letters at the University of Ibadan. The teaching professor at the University of Texas, USA, thus becomes the first academic awardee of the D.Litt. in the humanities at the University of Ibadan.

The transcript of the academic feat seen by this newspaper showed that the University of Ibadan conferred the award on Mr Falola on Wednesday, effective from December 31, 2020.

The D.Litt is awarded by universities and learned bodies to recognize the superior accomplishment of an individual in the humanities, contributions to the creative or cultural arts, or scholarship and other merits.

It may be conferred as an honorary degree, or conferred as an earned degree upon the completion of a regular doctoral course of study, which comes with the usual academic ritual of development and defense of an original dissertation, or may be conferred as an earned higher doctorate after a high profile and sustained scholarship is considered.

Toyin Falola, receiving an honorary doctorate from Babcock University.
Toyin Falola, receiving an honorary doctorate from Babcock University.

While Mr Falola, 68, is a recipient of 13 D. Litt honorary degrees, with the most recent being in 2019 from Babcock University, Nigeria, his latest D. Litt. Academic was earned through rigorous internal and external examinations of his works.

“It has been over 40 years since I was a student. But learning never ends. The commitment to acquire more knowledge makes me restless. I can’t help it. This is why I enrolled for it. It was not difficult because, as a writer of many books, I get reviewed all the time. It felt normal, and it was over before I knew it,” Mr Falola said in a statement released by his office Thursday.

Toyin Falola, receiving an honorary doctorate from Babcock University.
Toyin Falola, receiving an honorary doctorate from Babcock University.

“Having had over a dozen honorary degrees in the same humanities, I guess you could say that those who conferred these honors on me were indirectly passing a message to me that I still have a field they want me to explore,” the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker chair in the humanities added.

Born in 1953, Mr Falola, who is based in Texas, had his first degree in 1976. He earned his PhD in 1981 in history from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University).

His teachings border on African history, African methodologies, diasporic, and decolonial studies.

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