CSUB says goodbye to one of its own

CSUB+professor+Andy+Alali+shares+his+condolences+and+hugs+Solomon+Iyaseres+wife%2C+Marla+Iyasere+at+the+memorial+service+on+April+9.%0APhoto+by+Alejandra+Flores%2FThe+Runner

CSUB professor Andy Alali shares his condolences and hugs Solomon Iyasere’s wife, Marla Iyasere at the memorial service on April 9. Photo by Alejandra Flores/The Runner

Esteban Ramirez

Editor-in-chief

 

From friends and family to colleagues and former students, the Hillcrest Memorial Pavilion was filled with people sharing memories and reminiscing over the life of former CSU Bakersfield professor Solomon Ogbede Iyasere Sr.

Iyasere Sr., 76, was a professor of English at CSUB for 44 years and died on March 20 after a brief illness.

He developed and taught more than 35 courses in creative writing, world literature, Shakespeare, non-western literature, African literature and African-American literature.

Marla Wynn Mudar Iyasere alongside her son Solomon O. Iyasere, Jr. and CSUB President Horace Mitchell at the memorial service for the late CSUB professor.
Marla Wynn Mudar Iyasere alongside her son Solomon O. Iyasere, Jr. and CSUB President Horace Mitchell at the memorial service for the late CSUB professor.

Iyasere Sr. earned the fastest promotion to associate professor in two years (1972-1974) and became a full professor in 1978.

“He earned his final promotion to glory,” said his wife Marla Wynn Mudar Iyasere during the tribute. “Solomon stood tall, strong and proud. When he could no longer stand, he went home… Thank you Solomon for giving us everything.”

His oldest daughter Christiana Adesua Modupe Iyasere said she wished she had more time with him.

“I wish I had said this,” Christiana said. “I wish I had done that. I wish I had appreciated him more while he was here.

“Right now, I have a sense of profound sadness…but then I see in my son Nayan my father when he plays soccer, or in my daughter Ayla who loves books so much that she cries at night when you take her books away so she can stop reading and go to bed. Or in the quiet and deep kindness of my daughter Lola who is one of the most beautiful souls I know. With this, I know my father is always with me and with all of us, and for now — for always — this is enough.”

Solomon Ogbede Iyasere Jr. said he was thankful to have been close to his father in the final years of his life and particularly in his final moments.

“I was there with him the moment he passed,” said Iyasere Jr. “I am very thankful for that moment. To have been able to [be] there with him, to have been able to have that experience and to be able to have the closure of knowing that my father passed in his sleep without pain surrounded by loved ones.”

At CSUB, Iyasere Sr. helped revise the general education curriculum to include multicultural and international dimensions. He designed the English Single-Subject Teacher Preparation program to incorporate multiculturalism.

He also chaired the Department of English and Communications from 1992 to 1998, co-founded the Career Beginnings Program and the Ernest Williams, Jr. Scholarship Fund.

CSUB President Horace Mitchell said Iyasere Sr. engaged in and talked about scholarship, teaching, diversity, inclusive excellence, multiculturalism, internationalism and the contrast between Eurocentric and Afrocentric world views before they were common in academics.

“He was a man ahead of his time,” Mitchell said.

CSUB economics, environmental and global studies professor Margaret Malixi said he was very loved by his students.

A portrait of Solomon Ogbede Iyasere created by one of his students as a gift for his family adorned the memorial service on April 9. Photo by Alejandra Flores/The Runner
A portrait of Solomon Ogbede Iyasere created by one of his students as a gift for his family adorned the memorial service on April 9.
Photo by Alejandra Flores/The Runner

“The last few years when his health was declining, students would actively carry his book bag and escort him to his office to make sure he got there,” Malixi said. “We also saw faculty and friends checking on Solomon each and every day.

“As a friend, he was a dear, dear friend.  He was always laughing and always telling us and reminding us cheerfully why we were doing what we were doing at CSUB.”

Malixi said Iyasere Sr. enjoyed talking about stocks.

“He hounded us for stock tips,” she said. “Day in and day out he hounded us for stock tips. We would talk to him about stocks and he was very knowledgeable also, but he would never take our advice.”

CSUB communications professor Elizabeth Jackson said he was like a mentor and a father figure to her.

Jackson added that three reflections and concerns were never far from his mind and they were: diversity, civility and equitable treatment.

“Everyone that knew Solomon knew that he was all about these three things,” she said.