Math professor establishes scholarship to honor parents, assist students


What do you get when you add a math professor’s desire to honor his parents with the professor’s dedication to his students? For Dr. Jerry Obiekwe, there was only one possible answer: an endowed memorial scholarship.

Dr. Jerry Obiekwe, a math professor at The University of Akron Wayne College, established an endowed scholarship that honors his late parents and provides financial assistance to high-achieving, deserving UA students.

“My parents were strong proponents of a high-quality university education,” said Obiekwe, a popular and well-respected professor of mathematics who has been teaching at The University of Akron Wayne College since 1993. “They believed a university-level education was a positive investment that never stops yielding dividends – to the individual and to society.”

That mindset, in fact, was the driving force behind Obiekwe’s own life and career, which involved leaving his parents and his native Nigeria for greater educational opportunities in the United States.

Over the years, Obiekwe, who has always credited much of his success to the values his parents instilled within him, searched for a way to honor his father and mother while inspiring his students. That search concluded in July 2012 when, through a generous gift to The University of Akron, he established The Obiekwe Memorial Endowed Scholarship.

Dedicated to his beloved late parents, S.A. and C.E. Obiekwe, the newly formed scholarship allowed the younger Obiekwe to create a legacy underscoring his parents’ belief that education was a springboard to success and to provide financial assistance for high-achieving, deserving full-time University of Akron students, with a preference for those enrolled at Wayne College.

What’s more, the scholarship is endowed, meaning only investment income from Obiekwe’s gift will be used for financial aid, allowing the principal to provide funds in perpetuity.

“My parents were incredibly multidimensional people,” added Obiekwe, “and I’m delighted for the opportunity to honor them and connect them with my students at the same time. I hope this scholarship helps motivate students toward the kind of educational success my parents valued so highly.”