Profile of Prof. Iorwuese Dickson Gernah
Vice - Chancellor, University of Mkar
Professor IORWUESE Dickson Gernah, MIOB, MBAN, MNIFST, AMNSN.
Professor of Food Science and Technology and Vice Chancellor University of Mkar
Iorwuese Dickson Gernah is a versatile, vibrant and reputable Professor of Food Science and Technology with a bias in Food Product Development. Born 61years ago in Mbagban, Ugondu clan in Fiidi Council Ward of Makurdi Local Government Area of Benue State (to Mr. and Mrs. Gernah Apir), the young Iorwuese started his primary education in 1963 at DRCM Apir and proceeded to the much coveted William Muckle (WM) Bristow Secondary School Gboko from 1969 to 1973. He did his Higher School Certificate (HSC Lower Sixth) at Boys Secondary School Gindiri in1974, from where he passed the concessional examination and gained admission into the prestigious University of Ibadan where he obtained a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) Degree in Zoology with a Second Class (Upper Division) in 1978. After his National Youth Service (NYSC) he had a brief stint with the Benue State Civil Service from 1979 – 1981 as Fisheries Officer (Aquaculture) before leaving for further studies.
Propelled by an imbedded urge to make a mark and engrave his name on the sands of time with reverberations of excellence, the young Gernah quickly enrolled for a Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) in Industrial Microbiology at the Herriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom and was awarded in 1982, after which he took up appointment with Benue Brewery Ltd Makurdi in 1983. The sweltering aspiration to attain the zenith of his career prevailed on him to keep pushing on in his academic chase and in 1984, he went back to the Herriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom for a Masters degree (M.Sc.)in Brewing Technology settling down for serious work in the Nigerian brewing industry.
After about 17 years of training and accumulated work experience in the food (Brewing) Industry where he held positions such as Quality Control Manager, Production Manager and Managing Director, Professor Gernah garnered the courage to venture into academics, where his passion had always been, and by the year 2000, he joined the University of Agriculture, Makurdi as a Lecturer II in the Department of Food Science and Technology. Spurred by innate commitment to enhance his academic profile, Professor Gernah enrolled for a doctorate degree (PhD) Programme in Food Science and Technology at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi in the year 2003 and was awarded in 2008. In spite of his involvement in politics in various capacities such as Interim Administrator of Makurdi Local Government Council in 2004, Professor Gernah has continually remained intellectually active with serious research endeavors and prominent seminar engagements. Consequent upon his invaluable contributions to scholarship and strategic academic submissions over time, he has been able to rise very conveniently to the esteemed rank of a full-fledged Professor of Food Science and Technology with a specialization in Food Product Development. His competence and dexterity has earned him very relevant and sensitive positions in the university setting and beyond.
At all the stages in his educational and working career Professor Gernah demonstrated his academic and intellectual prowess evidently and convincingly too. He won the Saunders Award in 1978 for best Zoology graduate of the University of Ibadan, and the Allied Brewers Traders Association Award for best M. Sc. (Brewing) graduate in 1984 from Herriot Watt University Edinburgh. In the year 1994 he was given a Board Commendation as the Best Innovative Brewer in Benue Brewing Limited for helping the company to convert to local raw material brewing without any fall in quality and profit.
He also won the Innovators of Tomorrow (IOT) Award from the Science and Technology Education, Post Basic (Step B), Abuja during his PhD Programme, thus setting the pace for distinctive academic performance to young academics as mentor and a life coach.
The afore mentioned reveal Professor Iorwuese Dickson Gernah as a true academic with enviable credentials and cognate experience. He has an impressive teaching and research experience with various appointments in both public and private universities including Herriot Watt University Edinburg there he started as a Teaching Assistant, Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi where he served in various capacities as Deputy Dean of the Post Graduate School and Director Institute of Food Security ; National Open University of Nigeria and the University of Mkar, Mkar, where he was invited to help anchor the College of Food Science and Technology in 2011 as Head of Department and Dean and later became the Deputy Vice-Chancellor between 2012 – 2014 during his leave of absence from the Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi and on Visiting appointment.
His passion for community and Christian service has endeared him to the University of Mkar very deeply, thus his recent appointment as the Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chancellor, University of Mkar September 1st 2016 came effortlessly.
This fluent and soft spoken Professor of Food Science and Technology has contributed over 60 thoroughly researched scholarly publications in reputable journals both within and outside Nigeria. He has attended and presented scholarly papers in both national and international conferences. He has served as External Examiner to several Universities and other higher institutions including Federal Polytechnic Mubi and the University of Maiduguri from 2012 – date. He is a proud recipient of several academic and non-academic meritorious service awards and is very prominently cited in “Who is Who” in Tiv History and Development. He serves as a member of several professional bodies including the Nigerian Institute for Food Science and Technology, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Brewers Association of Nigeria and the Institute of Brewing, London.
Professor Gernah was the Chapter Chairman for the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria, and was elected the Best Chapter Chairman in Nigeria (out of 11 Chapters) in the year 2010. He is currently the Benue Sate Chairman of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria. These and many more constitute an impressive testimony to the prudence and productive nature of Professor Iorwuese Dickson Gernah.
This humble man has spent the better part of his life serving the community even at the risk of his life. From 2001 (during the Tiv-Jukum crisis) when he became the National President of Tiv Youth Organization (TYO) as well as President Ugondo Development Association to 2004 when he was appointed Interim Administrator of Makurdi Local Government Council, there were various threats and attempts on his life due to his stance for honesty, justice and fairness. He has also served the Benue State Government as Chairman and Patron of different Sporting Associations including Valley ball, Basketball and Table Tennis.
Professor Gernah’s accumulated service experiences have modeled him into an excellent entrepreneur of repute in Nigeria and equipped him with the requisite expertise for educational and community development. He is widely travelled and some of the Countries visited include the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Republic of Benin, Ghana and Kenya. He is married to a charming, dedicated and hardworking academic – Mrs. Elizabeth Member Gernah and the marriage is blessed with six (6) children. He is a committed Christian of the Protestant faith and has served as an Elder of the NKST from 2005 - 2016. His hobbies include: Sports, Travelling, Reading and Movies.