Udoh Elijah Udom was socialized early to view education as the passport to success. Therefore, he grew up with a ravenous appetite for knowledge. Unfortunately, his education was put on hold when his father passed away even before he completed his primary education. With the money earned from menial jobs, and support from his mother, he completed his primary education and moved on to study privately for ordinary and advanced level General Certificate of Education (GCE). Success in GCE opened doors for further studies in institutions of higher learning.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in social science/psychology from The University of Wisconsin (USA); Juris Doctorate degree from The University of Iowa (USA); Master of Law degree from The University of Leicester (UK), and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Government/Public Administration from The University of Texas at Austin (USA)—mission accomplished. While in graduate schools, he served as Faculty Assistant to different faculty members. This was when he developed an interest in academics, but his interest in academics was overtaken by an attractive job offer with the World Health Organization (WHO) regional office for Africa (AFRO) in Brazzaville, Congo.
He began a long career with WHO that lasted for two decades (1984 – 2004); first with AFRO in various legal and administrative capacities for thirteen years (1984 – 1997). This job took him to many African countries, South of the Sahara. He loved working in the African region of WHO, except when he was assigned to war-torn countries. Traveling to different African countries exposed him to different African cultures, particularly languages. In 1997, he was transferred to WHO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, where he served as the Head of Administrative Services till his retirement in July 2004.
Retirement, in the true meaning of that word, was not in Dr. Udom’s lexicon. He retired from WHO but was not tired. In 2005, he accepted an Adjunct Faculty position with Strayer University in Washington, DC, USA.
This appointment paved the way for him to satisfy his passion for teaching, writing, and research. At Strayer University, he taught undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in law and public administration. His passion for teaching earned him recognition among students, his peers, and university leadership. In 2007, he was awarded the prestigious Donald R. Stoddard Faculty Award of Excellence. In 2009, he was promoted Academic Dean of Strayer University campus in Nashville, Tennessee. This was a unique position in the continuum of his career in academics, particularly as the facilitating link among faculty members, staff, students, and University leadership.
As an Academic Dean, he decided on courses to be offered each quarter, coordinated students’ admission processes, recruited faculty and staff of the academic department, and carried out regular faculty evaluation. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at Washington Adventist University, Takoma Park, Washington DC.
Dr. Udom is an author of three books: (i) Adminisprudence: A Behavioural Approach to Managing Ourselves and Others (1998), (ii) Restless Citizens: The Hidden Burdens of Living and Working for the United Nations (2010), and (iii) What Makes Students Tick: Unlocking the Passion for Learning (2014), and peer-reviewed articles. He continues to sharpen his knowledge by reading, writing, and a blogger for his online journals: http://www.ourroot.net. He is involved in church activities, ethnic and professional associations promoting human welfare and dignity. As a grandfather, he often travels to visit his grandchildren scattered across the globe. No wonder he says retirement is a job of many colors.
He is a man who “never sleeps.” He is always thinking or doing something to improve himself. What’s next after this autobiography has been published? Stay tuned.