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23rd July 2018

First Black African to Get 1st Class Honours at Cambridge Came from Sierra Leone!

By a press release (21/06/18)

Sierra Leone academic genius Dr. Davidson Nicol made history as the first black African to graduate with a first class honours at Cambridge. 


Davidson Nicol (photo) contributed greatly to treatment of diabetes when he became the first to analyse the breakdown of insulin in the human body. He was also a physician, diplomat and poet.

Dr. Davidson Sylvester Hector Willoughby Nicol was born in 1924 in Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone. His family belonged to the Krio minority, an educated and elite ex-slave community. He attended primary school in Nigeria and in 1946 graduated with first class honours from Christ's College. He earned his PhD in 1958 and then proceeded to study for a medical degree at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queens Mary, Univeristy of London's Medical School. Following the completion of his studies, he lectured at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria.

"Davidson was the first black African to graduate with First Class Honours from the University of Cambridge and he was also the first black African elected as a Fellow of a Cambridge college. He significantly contributed to medical science when he was the first to analyse the breakdown of insulin in the human body, a discovery which was a breakthrough for the treatment of diabetes," the Christ's College, University of Cambridge confirmed.

Here is a list of his advanced schooling and accomplishments: 1. Ibadan University Medical College Nigeria 1952-54; 2. Cambridge University Fellow and Supervisor 1954-58; 3. Senior Pathologist Sierra Leone Medical Services 1958-60; 4. Principal Fourah Bay College 1960-67; 5. Chairman, West African Examinations Council 1964-68; 6. Director Consolidated African Selection Trust Ltd., London; 7. Vice Chancellor University of Sierra Leone 1966-68; 8. President Sierra Leone National Red Cross Society 1963-65; 9. Chairman Sierra Leone National Library Board 1963-65; 10. Director Central Bank of Sierra Leone 1963-68. (Photo: Davidson Nicol shaking hands with other dignitaries).

Others include 11. Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to U.N. 1969-71; 12. United Nations Security Council 1970-71 (President 1970); 13. Chairman Special Committee on Decolonization 1970-71; 14. Fellow (Hon.) Christ's College, Cambridge 1972; 15. High Commissioner to U.K. & Ambassador to Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway 1971-72; 16. Under Secretary-General U.N. & Executive Director UNITAR 1972-82; 17. President, World Federation of U.N. Associations 1983-87; 18. Professor of International Studies, University of South Carolina 1991-93.

Dr. Nicol died on Tuesday, September 20, 1994 in Cambridge, England. He is without doubt one of the most distinguished Sierra Leoneans of all.


1958 -1980


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