Liberia: Dr. Emmet A. Dennis, Former UL President, Has Died

The late Dr. Emmet A. Dennis, former president, University of Liberia


Professor Dr. Emmet A. Dennis passed away on the afternoon of Sunday, March 6, 2022 at Englewood  Hospital, New Jersey, USA at 2:44pm.

A distinguished scientist and academic, Dr. Dennis served as President of the University of Liberia, Vice President of Rutgers University (the State University of New Jersey), Dean of Rutgers College, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Tubman University among other professional assignments.  He was also a member of the inaugural Board of Directors of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia.

Dr. Dennis was the Liberian who led the establishment of the Liberia Biomedical Research Institute in Charlesville, Margibi County.

His outstanding service was recognized internationally and nationally. Cuttington University named its Science College in his honor.  Liberian scholars of scientific studies launched an annual science conference and named it The Dr. Emmet A. Dennis Conference on Scientific Research. The Liberia Biomedical Research Institute named its laboratory building after him. 

A graduate of St. John High School in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County, he earned the bachelor of science degree at Cuttington, the master of science degree at Indiana University, and the doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Connecticut.  A dedicated man of science, Dr. Dennis authored numerous scientific papers in the field of parasitology. 

Following his retirement from the helm of the UL presidency, Dr. Dennis opted to return to the classroom to continue teaching — an unprecedented step apparently never taken by any of his predecessors.

He is survived by his widow Dr. Yede Baker Dennis, his son Emmet Dennis, Jr. (Sheila), daughter Yede Michelle Dennis, two grandchildren; three brothers Samford, Gabriel, and Eric Dennis; and one sister Mrs. Lucinda Dennis McClain; grandchildren Dylan Dennis and Dani Dennis; and a host of close relatives.

A native of Liberia, Dennis joined Rutgers in 1969 as an assistant professor in the department of zoology. From 1975 to 1981, he was an adjunct associate professor while serving as director of the Liberian Institute for Biomedical Research, which he founded. 

He became vice-chair of the department of biological sciences in 1985. He served as acting director of the Office of Minority Undergraduate Science Programs from 1989 to 1990. In 1994, he was named associate provost for academic advancement. In the provost's office, he also oversaw the Educational Opportunity Fund, the Minority Faculty Advancement Program, the Center for Latino Arts and Culture, and the Paul Robeson Cultural Center.

 In 1993, Dennis was recognized as a distinguished contributor to undergraduate education by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences-New Brunswick, and in 1997, he received the Warren I. Susman Award for Excellence in Teaching.