Emeritus Professor Ayo Bamgbose, First Professor of Linguistics in Nigeria and arguably the First in Africa is celebrating his 85th birthday today.
Professor Bamgbose, had his education at St. Andrew’s College, Oyo and University College, Ibadan (then in special relationship with the University of London). He graduated B.A. (Honours) English, London in 1960, Diploma in General Linguistics in 1961 and Ph.D in Linguistics in 1963.
He joined the staff of the University of Ibadan in 1963 as a Lecturer, rising quickly to the grade of Senior Lecturer in 1966 and to Professor in 1968.
Professor Bamgbose has held several positions of responsibility at the University of Ibadan, including: Warden; Hall Master; Head, Department of Linguistics and African Languages; Dean, Faculty of Arts; Chairman, Senate Committee on the General Studies Programme, and Chairman, Senate Publications Committee.
On retirement from the University, he was honoured with the title of Professor Emeritus.
On the international scene, Professor Bamgbose has distinguished himself, not only through his numerous publications but also through lectures, keynote addresses, visiting appointments, membership of editorial boards, and amongst others too numerous to mention.
Some of the most notable visiting appointments are Visiting Professor to University of Hamburg in 1979-80; Visiting Fellow to Clare Hall, Cambridge University in 1987-88; George A. Miller Visiting Professor to the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1993-95 and Visiting Professor to the University of Leipzig in 1997-1999.
Professor Bamgbose’s contributions have attracted recognition in form of honours and election to high offices in professional bodies.
In 1994, he was elected the first (and, so far, only) African Honorary Member of the Linguistic Society of America. In 2000, he was elected the first African President of the International Association of World Englishes. In 2003, he was elected the 2nd Vice-President of the Permanent International Committee of Linguists, the first time an African linguist has been so honoured. In 2009, he was elected Foundation President of the Assembly of Academicians of the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN).
Back home, Professor Bamgbose was the sole recipient of the Nigerian National Order of Merit in 1990 and the Foundation President of the Nigerian Academy of Letters in 1998.
Also in 2010, he was one of the outstanding Nigerian scholars inducted into the Hall of Fame for Letters by the Nigerian Academy for Letters under the auspices of the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) Ltd.
Already, streams of hearty birthday wishes have been flowing in from every corner of the globe to celebrate iconic Emeritus Professor Ayo Bamgbose.