Celebrating a Trailblazer and Living Legend, Professor Oyinade Olurin, OFR at 90!

On Friday, 2nd February 2024, I had the privilege of being at the 90th birthday event of Professor Oyinade Olurin OFR. As the Provost of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan and as a member of the Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), I was honoured and deeply humbled to have the opportunity to say a few words on behalf of CoMUI and MWAN. I was grateful for the opportunity to stand among my teachers, mentors, and elders and colleagues and say a few words about a great teacher of teachers and mentor of mentors.

Professor Olurin is a trailblazer with a multitude of firsts, having served as the Foundation National President of the Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), the first Nigerian Woman Medical Professor, and the first Female Professor of Ophthalmology in Nigeria.

In my tribute, I mentioned two key stories that left an indelible impact on me about Professor Oyinade Olurin. My journey with the Olurin family dates to the early '70s when I shared a common entrance coaching with the children under the guidance of Mrs. Akintola on Adeyi Street, Old Bodija, Ibadan. During those formative years, I recall Oyinkan Aina nee Olurin and Adeyinka Aroyewun (Nee Bateye), Oyinkan’s cousin, as disciplined children being raised by a disciplinarian. Despite attending different secondary schools, our paths crossed at The International School Ibadan (ISI) during my A-levels. I remember vividly Oyinkan telling us on a certain day that her hands smelled of onions because they had to do the usual large monthly cooking the day before. I was fascinated about the monthly cooking and did not fully understand until I started residency training. This was when I realised that if I would survive and thrive as a resident, wife, and mother, I had to be innovative and creative in my approaches to my multiple tasks. I remembered my teacher Professor Olurin carried out a big monthly cooking and I decided to adopt this approach.  I would go ahead to cook all my soups and sauces once in six weeks, and I didn't feel bad about this… I also had a big deep freezer to store my 6-weekly cooking. In my mind, the highly revered Prof. Olurin did the same. Her actions liberated me to think that a woman can be practical and innovative to survive and go on to thrive. We don't have to feel bad if we can't come home to cook fresh soup every day as long as we have alternative and efficient means to get the job done.

The second story I shared was my encounter with Professor Olurin during my medical student days. Her unique teaching method involved selecting about five patients during clinics. She would then take us through each patient sharing their histories and demonstrating signs and symptoms. This efficient approach distinguished her from others, demonstrating that quality training need not be time-consuming. As her student, I quickly realised the richness and depth of knowledge acquired under her guidance and the importance of structure and time efficiency. Professor Olurin is indeed a pioneer who led the way for other women and broke new ground.

On a personal note, I am aware she was the President of Cathedral Beacons in St Saviour's Ijebu Ode, which happens to be my family church. Another Christian group of women doing great community service to in their generation. Professor Olurin's exceptional qualities have helped influence my trajectory and that of countless women in medicine, pushing us to thrive and excel. Her legacy will forever be an inspiration. As we celebrate her remarkable journey, we recognize the impact she has had on the lives of many and express gratitude for the privilege of being part of her enduring legacy.

On this blessed occasion, I pray for continued good health, joy, and prosperity for our dear Professor Oyinade Olurin – a teacher of teachers.

May the Lord preserve her and all that is hers. Amen.


Olayinka Omigbodun FAS

Professor of Psychiatry &

Provost, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan





Professor Oyinade Olurin OFR in pictures with her family. From L-R: Kehinde Aina, Mowumi Olurin, Soji Bateye. Bimbo Olurin,
Ofe Olurin, Oyinkan Aina, Pecos Olurin, and Bolaji Aroyewun 


From the front row, L-R: Prof. Ike Ajayi, Prof. Eniola Elegbe, Prof Fadeke Aderounmu (Past MWAN Oyo President), Prof. Oyinade Olurin,
Prof. Olayinka Omigbodun and Dr. Omolara Smith (Immediate Past Coordinator of MWAN Oyo Elders forum)



Olurin4Front row: From L-R: Prof Olayinka Omigbodun (Provost, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan), Prof. Modupe Onadeko;
Sitting: Dr Adekemi Otolorin (Past MWAN Oyo President, Immediate MWAN Past National President,
Prof. Olurin (Celebrant and First MWAN National President, Member MWAN BoT),Dr Adamito Iyun (Past MWAN Oyo President)
Standing Prof Wuraola Sokunbi (Past MWAN Oyo President), Dr Omolara Smith (Immediate Past Coordinator of MWAN Oyo Elders forum);
Back row from the right- Prof Ike Ajayi (Chairman, Scientific Committee MWAN 2021 Biennial conference), and Dr. Hannah Dada-Adegbola,(Past MWAN Oyo President).
Back Row: L-R Dr. Olalemi, Dr. Omowumi Femi-Akinlosotu (President MWAN Oyo), Dr. Adesola Odofin (Secretary MWAN Oyo),
Dr. Hannah Dada-Adegbola (Past President MWAN Oyo),Prof. Ike Ajayi (Chair Scientific Committee MWAN OYO



From L-R: Prof Aderonke Baiyeroju, Dr. Pecos Olurin, Prof. Akinyinka Omigbodun, Prof Olayinka Omigbodun, and Dr. Oyinkan Aina (Nee Olurin)


Olurin6The Provost, Professor Olayinka Omigbodun FAS privileged and honoured to stand behind three former Presidents of MWAN...
Prof Fadeke Aderounmu, Professor Oyinade Olurin (Celebrant), and Dr. Adekemi Otolorin


Olurin7The Provost, Professor Olayinka Omigbodun, while giving her remarks at the event, with several members of the College of Medicine and MWAN



Other Pictures of the Celebrant and Members of Medical
Women Association of Nigeria Elders forum at the event....








Profile of Professor Oyinade Olurin, OFR: A Visionary Pioneer in Ophthalmology and Great Achiever

Professor Oyinade Olurin was born on February 2, 1934, in Ijebu-Ode, Nigeria. She is an exceptional scholar and living legend who has left an indelible mark on the field of ophthalmology and beyond. Despite being born into privilege as the sixth child of Chief and Mrs. Timothy Adeola Odutola, a prominent industrialist and philanthropist, Professor Olurin has carved her own path to success through dedication, hard work, and an unyielding commitment to her profession.

Her educational journey commenced at the CMS Girls' School in Ijebu-Ode and continued at the University of Bristol Medical School in England, where she pursued her passion for medicine. She graduated in 1959 with a medical degree and later returned to Bristol for her Master of Surgery in 1975. Professor Olurin's early career saw her contributing to the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, where she served as a House Officer before embarking on a journey that took her to Akure, Cardiff, and other various prestigious institutions in England for her postgraduate training in ophthalmology.

In 1967, she made history by becoming the first Nigerian female Professor of Medicine, specifically in the field of Ophthalmology. Professor Olurin's academic career was marked by groundbreaking research, notably in understanding the patterns of eye diseases in Nigerians and the causes of blindness in primary glaucoma. Her leadership as the head of the Department of Ophthalmology at UCH for nearly two decades fostered a culture of research and inspired many young colleagues to pursue careers in ophthalmology.

Beyond her contributions to medicine, Professor Olurin demonstrated her versatility and business acumen by holding leadership positions in several companies, including Consolidated Breweries PLC and Nexans Kabelmetal Nigeria, PLC. Her commitment to community development is evident through her active involvement in non-governmental organizations, such as Zonta International, Ibadan Chapter, and the Nigerian Society for Information, Arts, and Culture (NSIAC).

Professor Olurin's impact extends beyond her professional accomplishments. She played a crucial role in the development of the next generation of ophthalmologists, training and influencing over 80% of the second generation in Nigeria. Her dedication to her work, punctuality, and high moral standards earned her the respect of her peers and students alike. In 2005, the Federal Government recognized her outstanding contributions by conferring upon her the national award of Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR).

Professor Oyinade Olurin retired many years back, but she continues to be involved in limited private practice in Ibadan, maintaining her commitment to supporting and assisting in the training and teaching of future ophthalmologists. Her legacy as the "Mother of Ophthalmology in Nigeria" is an indication of what a remarkable woman she is - who has not only shattered glass ceilings in her profession but also paved the way for others to follow in her footsteps.

As Professor Oyinade Olurin clocks her 90 years, the entire College of Medicine, University of Ibadan community celebrates a trailblazer whose renowned career and individual journey broke barriers and indeed laid the foundation for succeeding generations of medical professionals, not only in Ophthalmology but other medical fields. Her enduring impact, marked by groundbreaking research, a firm commitment to excellence, and a dedication to community service, serves as an inspiration to all. We pray for healthier years, abundant joy and fulfilment as she continues to inspire and uplift those around her. Amen


Tribute by Dr. BGK Ajayi in 2005 when Professor Oyinade Olurin was given the OFR by the Federal Government

Professor Oyinade Olurin, OFR

Mother of Ophthalmology in Nigeria

Professor Olurin had her medical education was at the University of Bristol, Bristol, England from 1953 to 1959. She returned to Nigeria after receiving the Golden Fleece, as was the practice in those days. She later worked as a Pre-Registration House Officer at the University College, Ibadan from 1959 to 1960 and a Post –Registration House Officer 1960-1961 as a General Duty Medical Officer, State Hospital, Akure, 1961-62.

Professor Olurin returned to England to pursue her postgraduate medical training and worked briefly as an Assistant in Medicine at the Medical Unit, Cardiff Royal Infirmary and the Hospital for Sick Children, Bristol from 1962-1963. Thereafter she was at the prestigious Moorfields Eye Hospital from 1963-1964 as Honorary Clinical Assistant and later as Clinical Assistant and Senior House Officer at the Bristol Eye Hospital, obtaining the Diploma in Ophthalmology, DO (Eng R.C.S.) in 1964. She worked briefly as a senior House Officer in Ophthalmology at the West England Eye Infirmary, Exeter, 1964-65 before returning home. She was appointed a Registrar in Ophthalmology, Department of Surgery, at the UCH, Ibadan in 1965 and a Lecturer-Consultant at the University of Ibadan in 1967, rising ten years later in 1976 to the exalted position of Professor of Ophthalmology, thus becoming the first female Professor of Ophthalmology in the entire continent of Africa.

Her appointment as a Professor was a well-deserved elevation, which followed hard work and unparalleled commitment to teaching, research and clinical work. Her numerous scholastic publications in international journals and her masterpiece of a treatise on Glaucoma earned her the Master of Surgery degree of the University of Bristol in 1975 and provided, for a long time, the only source of information about glaucoma and other diseases of the eye in Nigeria and black Africa.

Professor Oyin Olurin made spectacular contributions in the field of manpower development. She has trained and contributed to the training of more than 80% of the second generation of ophthalmologists in Nigeria. Without her input the Nigerian Postgraduate training programme in Ophthalmology would have suffered a major set back. This programme is now responsible for over 95% of the Ophthalmologists practising in Nigeria.

Professor Olurin was never daunted by any obstacles. She was about the only surgeon in UCH then who would insist on starting her surgical list at 7.00am on Monday. She would brook no excuse from anyone. All that she wanted was to get the work done.

Similarly, she was innovative and designed new ways for tackling surgical problems such as entropion of the upper lid which was published in a reputable international journal. Professor Olurin has numerous scholastic publications to her credit. Many of the available initial research and documentation on diseases of the eye in Nigeria were due to her painstaking effort. So she was the repository of ophthalmologic information in Nigeria

Professor Olurin is acknowledged by all ophthalmologists as the Mother of Ophthalmology in Nigeria. She has consistently exhibited high moral standards and integrity. She also demanded these from her students and younger colleagues. She was undoubtedly the most important pillar of Ophthalmology in Nigeria. She has to her credit many local and international awards. Many prizes and awards have been named after her at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan and at the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria. In 2005, the long overdue recognition by the Federal Government came at last. She received the National Honour of the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (OFR). 

This write up would not be complete without mention of some of her great attributes which should serve as a lesson to all young and upcoming ophthalmologists in Nigeria. 

Professor Oyin Olurin has a heart of gold laced with compassion and love and matched only by the dexterity of her hand movements in surgery and a head with a magnetic brain. Her sense of justice and commitment were unparalleled. You knew where she stood on any issue. She was extremely hard working and punctual and demanded same from her residents. No patient was turned away from the clinic even at 4.00pm when she would have been in the clinic since 8.00am. She could not tolerate indolence or sluggishness and exuded warmth and confidence at all times. Little wonder that she was loved by those who aspired to be like her and feared by those who could not cope with her pace. She is now retired and does limited private practice in Ibadan but has continued to support and assist with the training and teaching of ophthalmologists in Nigeria.

Dr. B.G.K Ajayi

Chief Medical Director, Eleta Eye Institute Ibadan

Former President Ibadan College of Medicine Alumni Association

CoMUI alumnus from the MBBS Class of 1973



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