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Webster University's Akande Receives 2012 Pillar in the Community Award

ST. LOUIS, Dec. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dr. Benjamin Ola. Akande, Nigerian-born U.S. citizen and dean of the George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology at Webster University, received the 2012 Pillar in the Community award from the Clayton Chamber of Commerce during a luncheon today in his honor.

"In honoring Dr. Akande, The Clayton Chamber of Commerce had the opportunity to say thank you for all the contributions he has made to the St. Louis community," said Ellen Gale, executive director of the Clayton Chamber of Commerce. "Dean Akande is a unique and special individual who inspires greatness in others.  He is a leader, a collaborator and a true Pillar of the Community.  We were thrilled to be able to recognize his accomplishments and commitment to serving others."

In accepting the award, Dr. Akande called the honor a testament to the power of building bridges between people and communities.  Akande grew up in Nigeria, Africa, and came to the United States in the 1980s to attend college.  Now, since moving to St. Louis and joining Webster University 13 years ago, he leads one of the nation's largest international schools of business, serving more than 13,000 students across the U.S., Europe and Asia.

His drive for excellence in higher education and dedication in helping businesses as Webster University's Chief of the Office of Corporate Partnerships has enabled him to forge educational partnerships with companies throughout the St. Louis Regional Business Council.  Outside academia, Dr. Akande is a director of Ralcorp Corporation, a trustee of both the Missouri Baptist Medical Center and the Jefferson National Parks Association, and the Vice-Chair of Beyond Housing, a nationally recognized provider of housing and support services for low-income families in our area. 

"Dean Akande has a remarkable ability to bring together people from business, academia and the community to make a difference in the St. Louis region," said Kathy Mazzarella, president/CEO of Graybar.  "He has a deep understanding of both the challenges and opportunities within our area, and he is gifted at connecting people who can drive positive change."

"Receiving this award reminds me that my community now, and hopefully yours, knows no boundaries," said Akande. "There can be no fence that keeps us from raising our hands to help those in need.  My work has taken me around the world from Albania to Osaka, Japan.  And my greatest fulfillments have come from reaching out to serve others."

In receiving today's 2012 Pillar in the Community award, Akande joins an impressive list of past honorees, including Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton, Commerce Bank's David Kemper, the late Sandy McDonnell and Missouri Botanical Garden's former director Peter Raven. The award also comes just a week after St. Louis Magazine placed Akande on The Power List:  The 100 people who are shaping St. Louis.

With its home campus in St. Louis, Webster University ( is the only Tier 1, private, non-profit U.S.-based university providing a network of international residential campuses. Founded in 1915, Webster University's campus network today includes metropolitan, military and corporate locations around the world, as well as traditional residential campuses in Asia, Europe and North America. The university is committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.

SOURCE Webster University -- Saint Louis Campus

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