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Professor Jacob F Ade Ajayi

Professor Jacob F Ade Ajayi was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from SOAS in 1994 following his distinguished academic career.

Professor Ajayi studied History at University College (later the University of) Ibadan, Nigeria, and he went for postgraduate research to Leicester University. After a spell as a Research Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research in London, he returned to Nigeria to join the History Department at Ibadan, of which he soon rose to be Head.  In 1964 he became Dean of the Faculty of Arts and then Deputy Vice-Chancellor.  From 1972 to 1978 he served as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, a position from which he was arbitrarily removed by the military government for his defence of students' rights and academic autonomy.  He returned to Ibadan, where he had trained a whole younger generation of scholars, known as "the Ibadan school of history".

Professor Ajayi played a key role in putting the history of West Africa, and Africa more generally, on a proper scholarly footing for the first time, as in such collective works as the History of West Africa, which he co-edited with Michael Crowder, and the UNESCO General History of Africa, of which he was a general editor.  his many honours include the Distinguished Africanist Award of the American African Studies Association in 1993.