The longest-serving academic staffer of the University of Ibadan, Nigel Henry, is dead.
This was announced in a statement issued on Monday by the Group of Academics and colleagues of the deceased at the university.
Mr Henry died on Saturday at the University College Hospital, Ibadan. He was 71 years old (December 14, 1950 – January 30, 2021).
“With a deep sense of sorrow but profound appreciation for a life well spent in academia, the Department of Classics announces the passing of Mr Nigel Henry, which regrettable event occurred on the night of 30 January, 2021, at the University College Hospital, Ibadan,” the statement reads.
According to the statement, Mr Henry spent over four decades nurturing students in the various sub-disciplines of Classics, especially in Greek and Latin languages and Literature.
The group said he was an outstanding student of the highest order and bagged the M.A. (Classics) with First Class Honours (1969 – 73) from the University of St. Andrews, and B. Phil in Classics (1973–75) from the University of Oxford.
Mr Henry was reputed to have brought to Ibadan the best traditions of Classical scholarship, having been taught by eminently acclaimed scholars like Kenneth Dover and Prof. Hugh Lloyd- Jones.
Every current member of staff of the department is a former student of Mr Henry, says the statement.
“We shall miss his fatherly tutelage and the inspiration he imbued in us as students of Classics,” part of the statement reads.
The group described Mr Henry as “a consummate interpreter of the ancient texts, who brought to life the intellectual atmosphere and cultural ambience of Graeco-Roman society in his teaching.
“His sharp intellect and inimitable sense of humour were as much a pedagogical tool as they were a delight on their own,” the group said.
It described the deceased as “A teacher of teachers, who, until his final breath was both a mentor and a great friend to generations of students in the department and University-wide.”
According to the group, Mr Henry never missed an opportunity for teaching whether in the classroom, the bar room or wherever the chance presented itself.
“He lived the life of an ancient scholar attuned to the times in which he found himself, embodying the university’s motto by being a veritable fountain of knowledge, in addition to being a frothy jug of joy to all who called him friend or teacher.
“To the end, he confronted life with a mixture of Epicurean verve and Stoic acceptance. We shall keep on learning from this great Latinist and Classicist,”the statement reads.
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