Daniel Afedzi Akyeampong

daniel-akyeampongGreat men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force – that thoughts rule the world.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Daniel Afedzi Akyeampong was born in Senya Beraku, in the Central Region of Ghana on Thursday November 24th, 1938. He was the last born of Peter Napoleon Akyeampong and Madam Charity Afful, both of blessed memory. Daniel attended Senya Beraku Local Council School from 1945 to 1953. He gained admission to The School; Mfantsipim School, Cape Coast in 1954, joining the Form 2 class rather than his Form 1 colleagues. He was in Balmer House till he graduated in 1959. That year he was honored as the Best Student in Physical Sciences and Mathematics. MOBA 57 was his year group and his second family.

In 1960 he entered the University of Ghana and graduated with a B.Sc. (Special), Mathematics in July 1963. He then left for London, England to further his studies at the University of London and Imperial College, London simultaneously. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Mathematical Physics by the University of London in October 1966 and a DIC (Diploma of Membership of Imperial College) in Mathematical Physics in November 1966. He met Professor Abdus Salam, FRS, the 1979 Nobel Laureate in Physics during his studies and was honored to have him as his supervisor and mentor. Undoubtedly, Professor Salam became very instrumental in his life. In 1964, under Professor Salam’s leadership, The International Center for Theoretical Physics, Trieste Italy (ICTP) was established to foster the growth of advanced studies and research in physics and mathematical sciences in developing countries. Professor Akyeampong was one of the first Fellows of ICTP in 1964/1965; an Associate from 1967 to 1975, and a Senior Associate from 1976 to 1993. He became an Honorary Associate in 1994 and was thrilled when in October 2014, he was invited to Trieste, Italy, for the 50th anniversary of ICTP to receive an award as a pioneer Fellow.

Professor Akyeampong returned to Ghana in 1966 and became a Lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Ghana. But gaining a job at the University was not the only good thing that happened to him that year. He also met a young dashing lady in Volta Hall, Charlotte Sally Newton. They got married on April 11, 1970 and were blessed with 3 children. Angelo Ekow Oguah Akyeampong, Adrian Kofi Nuamah Akyeampong and Adeline Adwoa Akooley Akyeampong.

Professor Akyeampong held many positions at the University of Ghana, ranging from being a Senior Lecturer in 1972, to an Associate Professor in 1976. In 1982, he became the first Ghanaian Full Professor of Mathematics at age 44. He was the Head of the Department of Mathematics from 1976 to 1983; from 1985 to 1988 and yet again from 1994 to 1999. Between 1988 and 1992, he was the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University. As Pro-Vice Chancellor, he was the Chairman of the Academic Planning committee, the Estimates Committee, the Housing Committee, the Management Committee of the Housing Loan scheme, the Residence Board, the advisory Boards of all the Institutes in the University and the School of Performing Arts. He also served on several University Boards/Committees including the Inter-Faculty Committee on Regulations Governing the Bachelor’s degree, just to name one.

Professor Akyeampong was a visiting academician at several institutions during his career. He was a Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellow and Visiting Senior Lecturer at Imperial College of Science and Technology, London; a Visiting Scientist at the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy; a Visiting Professor at the University of Cape Coast and also a Visiting Professor at the University of Science and Technology in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. At one point, he was the Head of the Department of Mathematics at this University and was also the Dean of their Faculty of Science in 1984.

In addition to his numerous responsibilities and assignments at the University Of Ghana, Professor Akyeampong performed several National assignments. He was a Member of the National Council for Higher Education (1972 – 1980); a Member of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (1975 – 1978 and 1992 – 1997); the Honorary Secretary of Ghana Academy of Arts and Science (1975 – 1978); a Member of the National Implementation Committee on Tertiary Education Reforms (1989 – 1992); a Representative of University of Ghana on the Ghana National Committee of the West African Examinations Council (1992 – 1996); a Member of the National Council for Tertiary Education (1993 – 2004); Chairman of the National Accreditation Board, (1994 – 2004); President of the Mathematical Association of Ghana (1988 – 1994); Vice-President of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (1995 – 1998); Chairman of the Committee on Evaluation of National Policy Objectives on Tertiary Education, Ministry of Education (1988); Chairman of the Committee to Review the Grading System for the BECE (1999); Chairman of the Country Selection Committee for the Ford Foundation International Fellowship Program (2000 – 2002); Chairman of WAEC Committee set up to investigate the leakage of the 2002 BECE; a Member of the President’s Committee of the review of Education Reforms in Ghana (2002); and a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (2003 – 2005).

Professor Akyeampong was instrumental in establishing the Methodist University in Ghana. He was a member of the Advisory Board of the then proposed Methodist University in 1996, Member, Tertiary Education Advisory Council of the Methodist University, Member, Board of Education and Youth, Methodist Church of Ghana, Chairman, Committee on Education and Youth, Calvary Methodist Society and Chairman, Senya Senior Secondary School Board of Governors.

On the international arena, some of Professor Akyeampong’s achievements included being the Assistant Editor of Afrika Matematica, a journal of the African Mathematical Union. He was a Member of the Editorial Advisory Board, Discovery and Innovation, a journal of African Academy of Sciences; a Reviewer for Mathematical Review in Michigan, USA, from 1976 – 1994; a Member of the Advisory Board on World Science Report, UNESCO (Paris), 1988; a Member of the Standing Committee on Freedom in the Conduct of Science (SCFCS) of the International Council for Science (ICSU), 1986 – 1993; a Member of the Executive Board of the International Council for Science (ICSU), Paris, France, 1993, later becoming its Vice President from 1996 to 1999.

He also attended over 100 international scientific conferences and workshops, where he either served as Chairman, panelist or moderator. He has to his credit about 26 single authored peer-reviewed publications, including his book, “The Two Cultures Revisited: Interactions of Science and Culture”, which he delivered at the 25th J.B Danquah Memorial Lectures and is published by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Akyeampong was a tithe-paying member of Calvary Methodist Church, Adabraka where he worshipped regularly for over fifty years. He became a member of the Men’s Fellowship over 20 years ago. He was also a member of Monday Bible Class, and a patron of the Singing Band.

Professor Akyeampong was a man of principle! He was strict but fair in all he did. To some, he may have looked unapproachable but once you got to know him, you would discover that he was one with an unparalleled sense of humor, witty, fun loving and a loud infectious laughter. This jovial personality was a constant when he was with family, friends and his “world famous” MOBA 57 group.

Professor Akyeampong was a devoted family man. To his three children, he imparted discipline, integrity, love and respect for all and a desire for knowledge – and Math and Science! He would always supervise their Math homework and would continually repeat, ‘My dear friend, Mathematics is the easiest subject in the world”. Whether they believed that or not, was another story. His love for his wife was legendary. To sum it up in one sentence – she was his best friend and Ewuraba Sarah, as he affectionately called her, was his partner for life. They were blessed with 45 years of marital bliss.

On Sunday December 21st 2014, he suffered a broken femur and was admitted to Korle Bu hospital for surgery. He spent Christmas in the hospital but promised to be home by New Year, and that he did. Recovery was progressing impeccably until January 24th 2015 when he suddenly suffered a septic shock. On March 7th, after a six –week stay in the hospital, Professor Akyeampong journeyed on to eternal glory surrounded by his family.

Prof Akyeampong left behind his wife, Charlotte, his two sons, Angelo and Adrian Akyeampong, his daughter Adeline Mensah, nine grandchildren and a host of nephews and nieces who would forever remember with fondness all the incredible memories created over 76 years.