Dean Akande Receives 2012 Pillar in the Community Award

Published in: MarketWatch

Dr. Benjamin Ola. Akande 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 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, a Nigerian born U.S. citizen, called the honor a testament to the power of building bridges between people and communities. Akande grew up in 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 which serves 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 Board of Trustee member for 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'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.