Medgar Evers hails retired geography professor

Medgar Evers hails retired geography professor
Photo by Solwazi Afi Olusola

Professors at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn last Wednesday hailed recently retired Geography Prof. Levi Uzozie, Ph.D for his significant contribution to the college and the City University of New York (CUNY) on a whole.

Nigerian-born Dr. Uzozie had taught geography for over 57 years at the secondary and tertiary levels — both in his native land, the United Kingdom and the United States. He taught the subject for 18 years at CUNY.

“My philosophy is that we have to treat each other as famil,” said Dr. Owen Brown, chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, where Dr. Uzozie taught, at a gala reception at the college’s Bedford Avenue campus.

“It’s entirely appropriate that we celebrate Dr. Uzozie retirement,” Brown added. “We’re here to celebrate while he’s alive and all of us are here.”

Montserratan-born Dr. George Irish, dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Education, noted Uzozie’s “very significant contribution to this institution

“I had the privilege of knowing when you came,” he said of Dr. Uzozie. “Every course is like a tree that bears fruit.

“You created the courses and taught them,” Dean Irish added. “The legacy you created will be longstanding.”

Dean Richard Jones of the Accreditation Committee said was “an honor” to celebrate Dr. Uzozie’s retirement, describing him as a “courageous man.

“We’ll miss him,” Dean Jones said. “I was told many years ago [that] retirement is a blessing.”

Dr. Henry Davis, former chair of the Social and Behavioral Department, said Uzozie did “what he thought was right.

“He did what he came here to do — to teach geography,” he said. “I’m very happy to have you raise your glass in his honor.”

Dr. Eda Hastick, the Kittitian head of the department’s social work, said Uzozie “demonstrated capacity as a humanitarian.”

“I thank you and will always remember your smile,” she said. “Hopefully, you’ll remain in our area.”

In May 2011, Levi Chukwuemeka Uzozie, associate professor at CUNY, was recognized by Cambridge’s Who’s Who for “showing dedication, leadership and excellence in higher education.”

With unparalleled expertise in academia, Cambridge said at the time that Dr. Uzozie “lends more than four decades of industry experience to the City University of New York.”

Over the course of his extensive career, Uzozie taught geography at prestigious educational institutions, such as Bronx Community College, Montclair State University, the College of New Rochelle and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Early in his career, he served as an honorary research fellow at the International African Institute in Holborn, London, and British senior staff inter-university council fellow at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Dr. Uzozie also served as a food directorate liaison officer attached to Biafran Navy and Air Force during the Nigerian civil war, 1967-1970.

Besides teaching several courses in geography at Medgar Evers College, Dr. Uzozie, also served as a point of contact for his students as an advisor and mentor.

During an exclusive interview with Cambridge Publishing, Uzozie communicated his life-long desire to become a teacher.

He remembered being advised by a former high school principal to enroll in a teacher training college — “advice that inevitably paved the way for an unprecedented teaching career,” Cambridge said.

He received undergraduate and post graduate scholarships from Nigeria’s federal government, and was honored with a senior academic staff fellowship by the United Kingdom for his educational fortitude.

Dr. Uzozie earned his Ph.D. in geography from the University of London in 1979. He holds a Master of Arts degree in geography from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, earned in 1966, and a Bachelor’s of Science (Hons.) in geography from Durham University in England, earned in 1962.

He was a member of the Academic Standards Committee of Medgar Evers College and is the former chair of the Mbanasa Soil Erosion Control Committee.

He is the former external examiner in Bachelor Education in geography for Anambra State College of Education in Awka, Alvan Ikoku College of Education in Owerri and Nwafor-Orizu College of Education in Nsugbe, all in Nigeria.

Dr. Uzozie’s professional affiliations include membership with the Association of American Geographers.

“I want to express my gratitude to you for arranging this marvelous ceremony,” Dr. Uzozie told his former colleagues and other members of the faculty at Medgar Evers College.

“All I wanted to do was to remove the stigma of geography from Medgar Evers College,” he added. “I’ve done a lot to change that.”