Portrait of Dr. Akande

Biography of Dr. Benjamin Ola. Akande

Dr. Benjamin Ola. Akande was named the ninth President of Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont on April 21, 2020.

From April 2018 to April 2020, Dr. Akande served as Assistant Vice Chancellor of International Programs-Africa, Director of the Africa Initiative, and Associate Director of the Global Health Center at Washington University in St. Louis. He also chaired Washington University’s International Travel Oversight Committee (ITOC). 

Dr. Akande, a Nigerian-American citizen, is a respected economist, scholar educator, and global consultant to Fortune 500 companies and higher education institutions in the areas of strategy, leadership development, corporate responsibility, and market positioning. He served as a director of Ralcorp Holdings, Inc., a $5 billion publicly traded manufacturer of high-quality private food labels, including Post, and has consulted for Anheuser-Busch, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Voith, SeaWorld, and many other corporations. 

A results-oriented leader, Dr. Akande is admired for his ability to connect with diverse constituencies at all levels within public, private, and nonprofit sectors. He possesses a wealth of business skills, honed by decades of experience working for and leading entrepreneurial and mission-driven organizations. He implements strategic initiatives with confidence and expertise, and knows how to balance business goals with a mission.

An engaging and compelling communicator, Dr. Akande is regularly sought out as a commentator by national media. He has appeared on Anderson Cooper 360, CBS Evening News and St. Louis affiliates of FOX, ABC and NBC. His commentaries have appeared in USA TODAY, Financial Times, and on public radio’s Marketplace.

Dr. Akande served as the 21st President of Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri from 2015–2017. He was the first person of color to helm the storied 168-year-old institution. As President, he made substantial gains in developing the infrastructure necessary to ensure the college’s long-term sustainability. This included transforming academic offerings, outreach, budgeting, financial modeling, marketing and rebranding, communication and institutional advancement. 

As a tenured Professor of Economics and Dean of the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University in St. Louis from 2000–2015, Dr. Akande is credited with building the school’s reputation, and positioning it as a globally relevant business school. He developed numerous corporate-donor partnerships which helped to secure the largest donation in the University’s history.

Dr. Akande holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Oklahoma and completed post-doctoral studies at JFK School of Government at Harvard University and Saïd Business School at Oxford University.  

Dr. Akande currently serves on the Board of Argent Capital, a $4 billion asset management company. He is a member of the Board of Enterprise Bank & Trust ($5 billion assets), serving on the Regulatory and Compliance Committee. He currently serves on the nonprofit boards of the Saint Louis Club, The MUNY, Missouri Charter Public School Association, and Forest Park Forever—one of the nation's largest public parks—where he chairs the Development Committee and serves on the Executive Committee. In addition, Dr. Akande is a member of the Danforth Plant Science Center Leadership Council. He is on the Advisory Board of FDC Fundação Dom Cabral, the top-ranked business school in Brazil.  

For more than thirty years as a professor and leader, Dr. Akande has worked to transform public and private institutions and organizations for the better. He is passionately committed to the success of people in organizations and takes pride in nurturing, mentoring, and inspiring students and colleagues, as well as other leaders. With the experience to recognize when to take calculated risks and the confidence to make tough business decisions, Dr. Akande believes the future belongs to those who can see it.

 Dr. Akande and his wife, Bola, a pharmacist and entrepreneur, have three adult daughters.