Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina is Calvin University's 2023 Commencement Speaker.
With President Adesina at the helm, the African Development Bank Group achieved the highest capital increase since its establishment in 1964, when in 2019, shareholders from then 80 member countries raised the general capital from $93 billion to a historic $208 billion.
Creating global impact
Prior to his current role, Adesina served as Nigeria’s minister of agriculture. He is credited with turning the agriculture and agro-processing sector of the country around within four years. In 2017, for his lifetime of service including prior roles at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and the Rockefeller Foundation, Dr. Adesina was awarded the World Food Prize, also known as the “Nobel Prize for Agriculture.” He was also named African of the Year in 2019 by one million readers of the African Leadership Magazine.
Dr. Wiebe Boer, president of Calvin University, witnessed Adesina’s visionary leadership and passion for Africa’s transformation firsthand, starting when they were colleagues at the Rockefeller Foundation in Nairobi 15 years ago.
“Dr. Adesina has been used as an instrument of change in multiple countries and contexts throughout his life,” said Boer. “While Adesina’s impact is monumental, it is also representative of the work our graduates have been equipped for during their time here—to be Christ’s agents of renewal in the world. I hope his address will further inspire our graduates to see how their lives can create real change in the world, wherever they are called, in whatever context they find themselves. He has been a mentor to me, and I cannot think of anyone in global leadership who better exemplifies our 2022-2023 theme verse of Proverbs 3:27.”
Adesina holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), a master’s and PhD in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University, and he has received honorary doctorates from the Federal University of Technology in Nigeria, Duke University, and Addis Ababa University, among many others. In 2017, Adesina was bestowed with the prestigious ‘Order of the Griffin’, one of Purdue University’s most esteemed honors, reserved for a select few alumni in the last century, among them American astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the Moon.
Equipped to do good
While well-credentialed, Boer says it’s Adesina’s heart for people that fuels his work. Adesina’s message will inspire the 800 students representing 28 countries, as they celebrate their graduation, and head out to serve in dozens of fields, countries, and contexts.
“Calvin University has a compelling mission that attracts students from all over the world,” said Adesina. “The formative education students receive here equips them to go out into the world and to live out the call of Proverbs 3:27, ‘to not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.’ I hope that students will see that call as both a responsibility and a great joy as they go about their life’s work.”
About Calvin University
Since 1876, Calvin University has lived into Christ’s promise to make all things new. A world-class Christian university in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Calvin exists to empower students as they discover a bold, transformative education rooted in Christian conviction. Calvin welcomes all who are compelled by God’s work of renewal to join in the formative pursuits of lifelong learning, teaching, scholarship, worship, and service. Discover more at calvin.edu.