Margaret Lawrence University Ready To Takeoff, Appoints Odili As VC

Margaret Lawrence University (MLU) is ready to begin academic activities, as the university's council has appointed Prof Augustine Odili as the institution's first vice chancellor.

On May 12, 2022, the National Universities Commission (NUC) granted MLU a provisional license to operate as a private university in Nigeria.

Mr Paul Odili, the founder and proprietor, announced the appointment shortly after the council meeting on Wednesday.

Prof Odili, who is not related to the proprietor, is a professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Abuja's Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Health Sciences.

He also works as a consultant cardiologist at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital in Gwagwalada and is the project's lead investigator.

In addition to his research and academic roles in the university, he serves as the acting dean, Faculty of Clinical Sciences as well as a member of the University Research Council, the apex research governing body of the university.

MLU is located at Galilee, an expansive and purpose-built education city developed on 114 hectares of land in Ute-Ogbeje Town in Delta State, which the state government accorded autonomous community status by law in 2017.

Speaking after the council meeting, Mr Paul Odili who is also the visitor to Margaret Lawrence University, said that with the appointment of a vice chancellor, the institution which is conceived as a bastion of academic excellence with a mission to produce morally competent and knowledgeable graduates who will conquer the sciences, the humanities and the business world and help make the world a better place, is now ready for take-off.

He further said that the appointment of Prof Odili, whom he described as a sound academic, scientist and administrator, is a leap in the right direction for the institution, citing his intimidating curriculum vitae and cognate experience.

The new vice chancellor, who is a visiting professor to the Department of Medicine, University of Calabar and a visiting external examiner to about six other Nigerian universities is also a visiting Bernard Lown scholar in Cardiovascular Health at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, USA.

He is a member of the editorial board of Journal of Clinical Hypertension, Journal of Hypertension and the Nigerian Journal of Cardiology.

He is currently the president of the Nigerian Cardiac Society, vice president of the Nigerian Hypertension Society and president, Society for Public Health and Social Development.

He is the chair of the International Society of Hypertension, African Regional Advisory Group, a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, the European Society of Cardiology and the Nigerian Cardiac Society.

Prof Odili has published over 50 academic papers in high impact local and international journals and has contributed to well over five chapters in refereed books. His research articles have been cited over 1000 times and have an h-index of 13 and i-10 index of 15.

Over the years, Prof. Odili has proven his passion for community development by translating his research findings into a number of programmes for large-scale application to hypertension and other non-communicable disease control programmes to various communities which have yielded tremendous impact in reduction of noncommunicable diseases in Nigeria.

Notable among them are the Community Action Against Non-Communicable Diseases (COMAAND), the Hypertension Scholars Advocacy Initiative (HASI), the Awkuzu Elderly Health Programme, and the highly impactful Reducing Chronic Diseases in Adolescent Nigerians (RECODING).

In recognition of his contribution to the public health of his native community, the traditional ruler of Awkuzu, HRH Igwe Sir Prof Charles Anikweze, appointed him into his traditional cabinet as a special adviser on Health Matters (Akanechendu).

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