Isaac Olubunmi Agboola was born in Nigeria. As a young deaf person, he was heavily influenced by Dr. Andrew J. Foster, ’54 & H-’70, who founded 31 deaf schools across the African continent. According to an article on the Gallaudet web site by Phil Dignan of the Office of University Communications, “[Isaac] Agboola first met Foster in 1971 while attending the Ibadan Mission School for the Deaf (IMSD) in Nigeria. He also worked in Dr. Foster’s mission office in Ibadan as an administrative clerk, describing this as “inspiring” since he sat two seats away. “The opportunity to attend [Dr. Foster’s] school enabled me to resume my education. It is highly unlikely that I would have achieved as much as I have if he had not established a mission school in Nigeria,” said Agboola at the time.
Dr. Agboola came to Gallaudet in the fall of 1978, and completed his bachelor’s degree in three years, graduating summa cum laude in 1981. He went on to earn a Master of Business Administration degree at Gallaudet in 1983, and his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Information Systems at the University of Maryland, College Park in 1998.
Dr. Agboola joined the University faculty in the Department of Business in 1984. He served as department chair from 2003 to 2007. In 2007, he was appointed Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Sciences, and Technologies (CLAST), and served in that role until being named Interim Dean of the newly-created School of Education, Business, and Human Services (SEBHS) in 2013, and permanent Dean in 2016. He had a long, distinguished history as a faculty member and dean. He led or participated in several strategic planning efforts and accreditation reviews, and led curriculum reform in the business disciplines, including what is now the Information Technology major in the Department of Science, Technology, and Mathematics. Most recently, he was involved in the creation of our new Risk Management and Insurance major. He also was instrumental in the transformation of our general education program to a formal, more intentional, outcomes-based General Studies Program.
Dr. Agboola was principal investigator for several grant-funded projects, including a grant from the Microsoft Foundation to develop a computer training program for deaf and hard of hearing students, and a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Business and International Education Program to internationalize our business curriculum. He was also co-principal investigator, in collaboration with partners at George Washington University, Marymount University, and the University of the District of Columbia, of a National Science Foundation planning grant to increase the number of underrepresented minorities (URM) in graduate STEM disciplines.
In the community, Dr. Agboola served on the Board of Directors of the American School for the Deaf (ASD) from 2008 to 2014. He was a current member of the ASD Board of Corporators. Dr. Agboola was a former board member and treasurer of the Gallaudet University Alumni Association, and a member and secretary of the Maryland Governor’s Advisory Board for Telecommunications Relay. He also served as workshop chair for three National Black Deaf Advocates national conferences, and as co-chair of the Linwood Smith Scholarship Committee.
Dr. Agboola is survived by his mother, Comfort; his wife, Jumoke; and four daughters, Julie, Elizabeth, Michelle, and Linda Agboola.
Dr. Agboola had a tremendous love for Gallaudet University. If you would like to donate to the Dr. Isaac O. Agboola Memorial Scholarship Fund, please do so here.