Olubuyide praises RC for launching her career

Tope Olubuyide '98 knew from the age of nine that she would be an OB-GYN. Olu remembers vividly a book that her mother had on the subject of pregnancy. "You could see what the baby looked like. It was my biggest fascination," recalls Olu.

When Olu was ready to begin high school, she says, "My mother told me, 'You're going to have to know what you're going to do,' and I said, 'I like math, and I like pregnant women!" Olu's mother suggested banking or chemistry, and her father - a college professor - weighed in, pushing chemistry. Olu, however, decided she would be an accountant and applied to Roanoke looking at the business program.

"In twelfth grade, I took bio and loved it!" From then on, Olu knew she would major in biology, not business.

As a medical school resident at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville, Olu once logged 140 hours in a single week, lasting 40.5 consecutive hours on call in a hospital. "I got home at 10 p.m. and had to be back at 5 a.m. I was thinking, 'I don't even have enough hours to sleep.'" All of her hard work is paying off, though.

These days, Olu is living her dream, working just south of Atlanta in an obstetrics practice with four women and a nurse midwife. She puts in 50-hour weeks, which she describes as "so much better than residency!" Olu loves every minute of it. "We're women helping women," she says.

Having her years of higher education begin at Roanoke was ideal for Olu. As for the decision to come to the College, she says, "Roanoke was haphazard." She received information in the mail, and it was the first place she interviewed for a scholarship. "The campus was absolutely gorgeous. We drove up Main Street, made a right on College Avenue, and at my first view, I said, 'This is it!'" Her mother doubted her, thinking she was being hasty, but Olu insisted, "No! This is it! I never wavered...I loved every moment of it!"

She recalls several people who had a profound influence on her development. "College is all about figuring out what kind of adult you're going to be." And, Olu found several mentors in faculty and staff.

Olu says her most influential academic experience was one with a professor who taught basic biology courses. "I made a C in her class. I had never made a C before! She actually took me out to lunch to break the news to me. It was bittersweet," she recalls.

Outside of the classroom, Olu was making an impression on campus just as those around it were making an impression on her. Mac Johnson '70 made a particularly strong impression on a very young Olu. "He was like a father figure - that person who would tell you if what you were doing was commendable. If you knew him, you wanted to be better."

Influenced by Johnson, then the vice president of student affairs, and others, Olu stayed busy on campus. She was a Resident Advisor, a member of the conduct board, Student Government Association and the student group known as Shades of Maroon. She also worked with Habitat for Humanity and sang in the College Choir for two years.

"I fondly remember Tope as an energetic, intelligent young woman who was on her way to doing something significant with her life. She is the type of student who makes our work worthwhile and rewarding," recalls Johnson.

Olu, a graduate of Georgia Tech's master's program and the Medical College of Georgia, feels strongly that her Roanoke College education made for a firm foundation. She also says with a laugh, "MCG was a great experience - like Roanoke all over again!"


About the Author

Traci Crockett '01 earned her B.A. in English with a concentration in communications. She is currently the Director of Alumni Communications at American University.