Farmingdale State Dean Eleanor R. Fapohunda, 67

Eleanor Fapohunda, the dean of the College of Eleanor Fapohunda, the dean of the College of Arts and Science at Farmingdale State College, has died. Photo Credit: Handout

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Eleanor Reibstein Fapohunda, an economist who taught in Nigeria and at Farmingdale State College before she became dean of the School of Arts and Sciences there, died Monday at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip. She was 67.

She suffered a stroke, said her son David Fapohunda of Jersey City.

Under Eleanor Fapohunda's leadership, the School of Arts and Sciences developed three new bachelor's degree programs -- applied economics, applied psychology and criminal justice.

She helped lead the college's 2011 reaccreditation review, a rigorous examination of the mission and goals every institution undergoes every few years, culminating in a review by outside experts that can make or break a college's reputation; Farmingdale passed with flying colors.

Fapohunda also organized the Arts and Sciences Colloquium, bringing faculty and students together to share research results in informal talks.

The program was a simple but effective way of "bringing a sense of community to the School of Arts and Sciences" and catalyzing discussion among professors whose research can be highly specialized, said Richard Vogel, an economics professor and acting dean of the School of Business.

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Fapohunda began her career at New York University, where she met her future husband, Nigerian economist Olanrewaju Joseph Fapohunda.

When they lived in Nigeria, she wrote about household economics, women and work in Africa, among other topics.

She argued that women wielded unexpected power in the tribal and village life of some seemingly male-dominated societies.

That argument, her son said, originated from observing her mother-in-law.

"She was fascinated by her influence, because she was more or less the banker of the town," David Fapohunda said. "There were pockets of influence like this in different countries, and good foundations to apply where there was an absence."

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Eleanor Fapohunda was predeceased by her husband. In addition to her son David, she is survived by a daughter, Funmi Fapohunda, of Wheatley Heights, a son Ayo Fapohunda, of New Rochelle, and five grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at Gutterman's Funeral Home, 8000 Jericho Tpke., Woodbury, at 1 p.m. Tuesday. Burial at Mount Ararat in East Farmingdale will follow.

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