Professor Dolphyne honoured for dedicated service

BY: Porcia Oforiwaa Ofori
Prof Florence Abena Dolphyne (5th left), being assisted by her daughters and some professors from the University of Ghana, to cut the cake at the ceremony.
Prof Florence Abena Dolphyne (5th left), being assisted by her daughters and some professors from the University of Ghana, to cut the cake at the ceremony.

An event has been held in Accra in honour of Professor Florence Abena Dolphyne, a retired professor of Linguistics at the University of Ghana, Legon.

At the ceremony which also marked her 80th birthday on March 1, 2018, family members, past students, professors, friends and loved ones, as well as the immediate past Vice-President of Ghana, Dr Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur, read tributes in her honour to celebrate her achievements.

Celebrated professor

The event, held on the theme: “New Frontiers In Language Studies in Ghana”, saw the presentation of gifts to the celebrated professor, with the cutting of a cake to climax the celebration.

Prof. Dolphyne served the University of Ghana for 36 years, from 1965 to 2001, with the last three years before her retirement marking her post-retirement service.

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Addressing the ceremony in Accra last Wednesday, Prof. Dolphyne urged the youth to be focused and committed to whatever they did, pointing out that: “Once you have the opportunity to be educated, you should really make up your mind on what you want to achieve in life and then stay focused on that and go ahead with it.”

She appreciated the Department of Linguistics, her family and all those who made her celebration possible.


Prof. Dolphne attended Wesley Girls’ High School, Cape Coast and the Mfantsipim School for her Ordinary and Advanced level education respectively after which she pursued her university education at the University of Ghana in 1958 where she graduated with a B.A Honours in English.

She obtained a Ph.D in Phonetics and Linguistics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and began her career as a lecturer at the University of Ghana in 1965. She rose through the ranks and was promoted to Professor of Linguistics in 1996.

During her career, she became the first female Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the university.

Earlier, she served as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Head of the Department of Linguistics. She was also a Hall Warden of the Volta Hall, as well as a member of the University of Ghana Council.

Visiting scholar positions

Prof. Dolphyne held visiting scholar positions in other universities, including the University of Ibadan, Nigeria; Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone; Michigan State University and University of California, Los Angeles.

In her active research years, Prof. Dolphyne produced key publications, including A Phonological analysis of Twi vowels; A classification of Akan verb stems; Dialect differences and historical processes in Akan, The Brong (Bono) dialect of Akan and A course in oral English: Teachers’ handbook, that influenced the discipline.

Prof. Dolphyne was the Vice Chair for the National Council on Women and Development and later became its Chairperson.

She was the Chairperson of the Ghana Education Service Council from 2002 to 2006. She also served as a Board Member of the Ghana Education Trust Fund and VALCO Trust Fund.

Other positions

Prof. Dolphyne was a member of the National Reconciliation Commission from 2002 to 2004, while she held positions as First and Second Vice-President of the Bible Society of Ghana.

She once served as a member of the Methodist University College Council and been a conference member of the Methodist Church, Ghana since 1999.

In recognition of her sustained role in the development of higher education in Ghana, she was awarded an honorary doctorate (D.Litt) degree by the University of Ghana in 2004.

A tribute read by a professor at the University of Ghana, Prof. Kweku Osam, described Prof. Dolphyne as an embodiment of history, stating that she was the first Ghanaian woman to have obtained a PhD in Phonetics and Linguistics and the first Ghanaian woman to have been promoted as an Associate Professor by any Ghanaian university.