Several weeks ago, I learned of the passing of an outstanding teacher. I’m saddened to think that new AUA students won’t have the opportunity to learn from Dr. Olusegun Dipole, teacher extraordinaire. For those who will never know him as I did, this tribute will introduce you to a man who was passionate, enthusiastic and dedicated to his profession. Many will recall the same memories; maybe without the fondness that I do, but nonetheless agreeing that Dr. Dipeolu was one-of-a-kind.
Before 3rd semester, I was terrified of microbiology. Upperclassmen complained of impossible, un-passable exams, incomprehensible PowerPoints, and a shelf exam that was universally dreaded. It was mostly true. Microbiology was hard – wordy PowerPoints, tough weekly quizzes and impossible reading assignments. Re-adjusting, I discovered that I would do better if I made tables– then I did well on the midterms, even though the quizzes still killed me. I realized Dr. Dipeolu was a man of details, and I succeeded by paying attention to every tiny detail in my own preparation: if a piece of information appeared inconsequential, I learned it, knowing it was likely important to him. Interestingly, the same attention to detail appealed to my style of studying and it is something I still do today.
My most vivid memories of Dr. Dipeolu however, are not of his exams or quizzes. I remember a happy man; proudly walking about campus in his traditional African garments although it felt like 100 degrees outside. I remember a man who would stop and chat smiling with any of his students, and whose door truly remained open for questions. He was so excited about microbiology that he skipped from one side of the room to another while he taught. He refused to get a modern laser pointer – amusing us all with his metal pointer (which was an old radio or car antenna). I remember how students in class would always know what was important to Dr. Dipeolu for the exam by the number of times he whacked the screen with his antenna. I remember the love he showed for his wife, and how they called each other “Mommy” and “Daddy”, even when students were around. When I excelled in the class and shelf, he boasted about me and proudly introduced me to visitors as if I were his own child. I remember a man who loved his work, his family and his students. His passing has been a loss to his family whom he loved so much, to AUA to whom he gave all his time. It hurts that he is gone, but although I’m sad I couldn’t say goodbye, I’m glad I knew Dr. Olusegun Dipeolu.
by Jasmine Riviere Marcelin, Valedictorian, Class of 2011