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Brief History of the University

The history of University Education in modern Nigeria dates from 1948, when the University College of Ibadan was established. For more than a decade the college remained the only institution of University standing in Nigeria. Although the Eastern Nigeria Government had enacted a Law establishing the University of Nigeria Nnsuka, in 1955, it was not until 1961, that the University came into existence. In that year also a commission was set up by the Federal Government under the Chairmanship of Sir Eric Ashby to survey the needs of post-secondary and higher education in Nigeria for the next twenty years. One of the most lasting results of the commission is the establishment, between 1961 and 1962, of three Universities, in Nigeria. One of these three Universities is Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife which was then known as University of Ife and was established by the Government of then Western Region of Nigeria.

The Government of the Western Region of Nigeria first announced in 1960 its intention to establish as soon as possible a University in the Western Nigeria which would be of the highest standard, its policy was to open its doors to students from all parts of the Federation and of the world; in line with its belief in academic excellence. The planning of the University was entrusted to two committees. One a University Planning Committee comprising persons qualified to advise on the planning of a new University, and who in effect under look the preparatory work connected with the establishment of the University pending the setting up of the provisional council of the University: the other, a University Parliamentary Committee, which would be advisory to the Minister of Education, on 8th June,1961, the Law providing for the establishment of the Provisional council fo the University was passed by the Legislature of the Western Region and on the 26th of the same month Provisional Council of the University was formally inaugurated under the chairmanship of Chief Rotimi Williams.

On 11th June, 1970, an edict known as the University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife Edict 1970, was promulgated by the Government of the Western State to replace the Provisional Council Law of 18th June, 1961. This Edict had since been amended by the University Amendment Edict No 11 of 1975. This New Decree effected a take-over of the University by the Federal Military Government.

The site selected for the University was Ile-Ife, a town about 65 kilometers north-east of Ibadan Oyo State. Ife is famous as the centre of an ancient civilization and the home of the Museum which contains the renowned Ife heads. It was intended that temporary buildings should be put on the site to enable teaching to commence in October 1962, while the permanent buildings were subsequently planned and erected. But when the Federal Government transferred the Ibadan Branch of the Nigeria College of Arts, Science and Technology, to the University, if was decided that it would be unnecessary to put up temporary buildings at Ife, and the University was temporary located on the site of the Ibadan Branch of the Nigerian College. Teaching began in October with an initial enrolment of 244 students. The teaching, administration and technical staff. Either transferred from the Nigerian College of Art, or were newly recruited from abroad, numbered about eighty.

The University started with five faculties Agriculture. Arts,Economics and Social Studies (now Social Sciences), Law and Sciences, Eight other faculties have since been added, namely the Faculties, of Education established on 1st October 1967), the Faculty of Pharmacy (established on 1st October 1970), the Faculty of Administration which replaces the former institute of Administration (with effect from 1st October, 1979) and the Faculty of Environmental Design and Management (established in April 1982).

The Faculty of Health Science (established on 1st October, 1970) is now a College, made up of three Faculties, namely the Faculties of Basic Medical Sciences. Clinical Sciences and Dentistry. Faculty of Education includes the Departments of Continuing Education; Educational Foundations and Counselling; Special Education and Curriculum Studies; Educational Administration and Planning; Educational Technology; the Institute of Education and the Department of Physical and Health Education. Faculty of Pharmacy embraces studies in Pharmaceutics, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Pharmacology and Pharmacognosy. Faculty of Technology comprises the Departments of Agricultural Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Food Science and Technology and Materials Science Engineering, Electronic & Electrical Engineering, Computer Science & Engineering.

College of Health Sciences consists of the Department of Medicine, Department of Chemical Pathology, Hematology and Immunology, Restorative Dentistry, Morbid Anatomy, Radiology. Physiological, Sciences, Dermatology and Venerology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Preventive and Community Dentistry, and Child Health. Oral and Maxillo Facial Surgery, Oral Pathology, Anesthesia, Nursing, Mental Health, Microbiology and Parasitology, Community Health and Nutrition, Surgery Environmental Health and Epidemiology, Anatomy and Cell Biology, Medical Rehabilitation, and Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology. The College aims at training a team of graduates, medical and para-meedidal personnel to work in both rural and urban areas.

Faculty of Environmental Design and Management comprises the Department of Architecture, Building Technology, Estate Management, Quantity Surveying, Urban and Regional Planning and Fine Arts. Faculty of Administration comprises the Department of Public Administration, Local Government Studies, International Relations and Management and Accounting.

Faculty of Arts includes the Departments of African Languages and Literatures, Dramatic Arts, English, History, Foreign Languages, Music,Philosophy and Religious Studies. Faculty of Law consists of the Departments of Business Law, International Law, Jurisprudence and Private Law and Public Law. Faculty of Science comprises the Departments of Biochemistry, Botany, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics, Microbiology, Physics and Zoology. Faculty of Social Sciences includes the Departments of Demography and Social Statistics, Economics, Geography Political Science, Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology.

In addition there are the following institutes and Research Units in the University ;Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, the Centre for Industrial Research and Development, the Technology, Planning and Development unit, Drug Research and Production unit, the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Studies, Institute of Cultural Studies and Centre for Gender Studies.

As the University expanded in academic discipline and infrastructures so also the population of the community. The student population has risen steadily from 244 since inception in 1962/63 to over in the academic session.