Emeritus Prof Baxter Grillo Dorothea, Uniben Prominent professor dies at age 89. A biography of the life and times of Prof Baxter Grillo Dorothy.

The entire staff and students of the University of Benin and the Nigerian medical community has been thrown into mourning over the death of erudite Professor of Anatomy, Baxter Grillo Dorothea, yesterday, May 29th.

Prof Baxter Grillo, a Jamaican, was a lecturer in the department of Department of Anatomy in the university for over over 30 years until last year, 2019, when she ceremoniously retired and sent forth by the University to be with her family.

Prof Baxter Grillo Dorothy
Prof Baxter Grillo Dorothea, a teacher of teachers and a teacher of professors

Grillo as she was fondly called, has taught close to 3 generations of doctors and other allied medical professionals in her active years of service and was still very much active and passionate about her job up until last year.

Grillo and her Nigerian husband, Professor Adesanya Ige Grillo are reputed to have started Anatomy as a course of study in Nigeria and she continued with her passion of propagating scientific knowledge even after the death of her husband in October 1998.

Her one time student, Professor Friday Okonofua, a one time Provost of the College of Medical Sciences in the University of Benin and the current Vice Chancellor of the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo state, wrote a powerful and beffiting Eulogy about Emeritus Professor Baxter Grillo Dorothy on his facebook page yesterday acknowledging her invaluable contribution to Medicine.

Read below 👇👇👇👇👇

“I am so sad this morning to learn of the passing on to glory of Professor Dorothy Baxter-Grillo, who was until date a professor of Anatomy at the University of Benin.
Professor Baxter-Grillo taught me Anatomy at the 100 level at the University of Ife.

Born a Jamaican, and later married to a Nigerian, Professor Adesanya Ige Grillo, she has lived in Nigeria since the 1960s – first at the University of Ibadan, later the University of Ife (now the Obafemi Awolowo University) and finally the University of Benin.

I am pleased that at the time I was Provost of the Medical School in Benin, I was able to convince her to transfer her services to the University to galvanise the training of medical students. And, I am exceedingly grateful that successive Vice-Chancellors at the University of Benin have been able to retain her from that date till now. And they consistently treated her well and with great respect!

No doubt, it is evident that Professor Grillo until her death is a Nigerian – loved by Nigerians. She taught Anatomy to several generations of Nigerians with great passion and relish.

At 90+, she remained indefatigable and strong, a visionary leader in the field of anatomy that will be missed by ALL Universities in Nigeria and a great example in leadership, tenacity, and purposefulness.

To this day, Professor Baxter-Grillo and Professor Adesanya Ige Grillo are legendary names in the field of anatomy in Nigeria. Indeed, I believe any medical doctor who read medicine in Nigeria, and says he/she hasn’t heard the name “Grillo” ought to be investigated.

On this note, I pray fervently for the repose of the soul of Professor (Mrs.) Dorothy Baxter-Grillo. May the good Lord spare her soul enabling her to rest peacefully in the deeper and most comfortable recesses of our Lord’s temple..” He wrote.


In a memo released this evening (May 30th) , the Management of the University of Benin, headed by Prof Lilian Salami mourn the loss of Prof Grillo while highlighting her sojourn through many schools across Nigeria. 👇



Encomiums have been pouring in for late Professor Dorothea Baxter-Grillo who died in the early hours of Friday 30th May, 2020, at the age of 89.

The Jamaica born Professor of Anatomy has been described by her former students (many of them, distinguished professors in their own rights), and colleagues as a consummate researcher and iconic academic.

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, Professor Lilian Salami, on behalf of Management, staff and students of the University, eulogised Professor Baxter- Grillo for her panache and uncommon dedication to the well-being of humanity, who will be greatly missed even as her family and in-laws plan her return to her home country for burial.

Professor Dorothea was born toa medical doctor father in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1931. The Professor of Embryology, with specialisation in Paediatrics, was the first to obtain a Ph.D in Anatomy in Nigeria. Professor Baxter-Grillo,who pioneered the
Department of Anatomy, University of Benin, held professorial positions in Jamaica and at the Universities of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo in lle-lfe, Maiduguri, and Benin.

A public lecture was organised in her honur on the 18th of December, 2019, by the University of Benin.

May God grant her soul eternal rest.

Benedicta Ehanire, Ph.D
30th May, 2020

Prof Baxter Grillo Dorothea
Uniben press statement eulogising Prof Grillo



  1. She was a consummate teacher and astute intellectual with an alert mind and an eye for detail even in her twilight years. Prof Baxter-Grillo will be missed by generations of medical students who she taught and mentored. She will also be missed by her younger colleagues, including my humble self, in whom she left an indelible impression as a sound and principled academic. May her soul find eternal repose in the Lord’s bosom, Amen.


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