Prof Florence Obi is not just an academic don; she is one woman bestowed with glowing beauty. The professor of special education is the 11th substantive vice chancellor of the University of Calabar and is the institution’s first female vice-chancellor. Before her appointment, she was the deputy vice-chancellor of the university (academic), as well as a one-time Commissioner for Women’s Affairs in Cross River State.
Obi, who has a PhD in the Psychology of Education from the University of Calabar, started her academic career as an assistant lecturer at the Institute of Education, the University of Calabar in 1990. From there, she proceeded to the Jordan-Hill College of Education, Scotland, after obtaining a six-month postgraduate scholarship in 1992, under the World University Service, World-Wide Fund for Nature, and the Nigerian Conservation Foundation. After the course, she was responsible for the WWF/NCF-funded schools and community education programmes.
The academic had her elementary education at St Bridget’s Primary School, Ogep Osokom, Boki, Cross River State. She also attended St Thomas’s Teachers Training College, Ogoja, Cross River State, and graduated in 1983. She later obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from the University of Calabar. In 1990, she bagged a Master of Education degree in Special Education from the same institution.
In 2002, she obtained her PhD in the Psychology of Education from the University of Calabar.
Her rise to the pinnacle of her career was made possible by her resilient and determined spirit. She had initially given a shot at the VC position in 2015 but lost out.
But, in 2020, she beat 12 candidates to become the first female vice-chancellor of the institution. She succeeded Prof Zana Akpagu.
While congratulating Obi, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege described her as ‘an astute educational icon’.
Obi is married with four children and six grandchildren.