Simeon Ilesanmi has been appointed to a Wake Forest Professorship as the Washington M. Wingate Professor of Religion. Ilesanmi joined the faculty in 1993 and has directed the religion department’s graduate studies since 2006. He is only the 15th current faculty member to be designated a Wake Forest Professor.
“He is a wonderful example of the teacher-scholar model,” said Provost Jill Tiefenthaler. “He brings a unique background in ethics and law and an international perspective that has served his students and our academic community well.”
A native of Nigeria, Ilesanmi’s research focuses on international human rights, the ethics of war, and religion, politics and law. He is the author of “Religious Pluralism and the Nigerian State” (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1997) and numerous journal articles and book chapters on African religion, ethics, war and politics.
He has served as a faculty adviser to undergraduate, graduate and international students and has taught classes in Christian tradition and ethics, comparative religious ethics, and religion, society and power in Africa. He helped plan the African Studies minor, being offered for the first time this fall, and a new student study-abroad experience in Nigeria being offered as part of the requirements for the minor. He is currently leading a group of faculty who have been awarded a planning grant for a Center of Ethics, Religion and Law.
Ilesanmi earned his B.A. in religious studies from the University of Ife in Nigeria and then received a fellowship to Southern Methodist University, where he earned his Ph.D. in religious ethics in 1993. After joining the Wake Forest faculty, he earned his J.D. from the Wake Forest School of Law in 2005. He was a visiting fellow at Princeton University in 1999-2000 and a visiting scholar in the War Studies Department at King’s College, University of London, in 1996.
The Wake Forest Professorships are named in honor of past Wake Forest presidents and one distinguished professor, the late Professor of Biology Charles Allen. Ilesanmi’s professorship is named in honor of Wake Forest’s fourth president, Washington Manly Wingate, whose tenure from 1856 to 1879 was interrupted for four years when the College closed during the Civil War.
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