Rhodes University

Rhodes University

infobox University
name= Rhodes University

motto= Vis, virtus, veritas (Strength, courage, truth)
established= 1904
type= Public
campus= Urban
staff= 295
vice_chancellor= Saleem Badat
students= 5,583
undergrad= 4,456
postgrad= 1,127
city= Grahamstown
state= Eastern Cape
country= South Africa
website= [http://www.ru.ac.za/ www.ru.ac.za]

Rhodes University is a university in South Africa named after Cecil Rhodes.

The university is situated in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The town is famous for its numerous churches as well as its hosting of the National Arts Festival, which takes place annually in the early days of July. Rhodes is home to over 5,000 students, about 3,000 of whom live in residences on campus. The remaining students rent out flats or live in their own homes in the town. The university boasts six main faculties - commerce, education, humanities, law, pharmacy and science - and over 30 different academic departments.


Rhodes owes its unique character among South African universities to a combination of factors - historical, geographical, cultural and architectural. Its history is a chronicle of the people whose intellect, vision and courage created and sustained a university, often against seemingly insuperable odds. Successive generations of Rhodians, imbued with their independence of thought, have had an influence on southern Africa and world affairs out of all proportion to their small numbers.

In the beginning

University education in the Eastern Cape began in the college departments of four schools: St Andrew's College, Grahamstown; Gill College, Somerset East; Graaff-Reinet College; and the Grey Institute in Port Elizabeth. By the turn of the century only St Andrew's and Gill still prepared candidates for the degree examinations of the University of the Cape of Good Hope. Limitations in staff, laboratory equipment and libraries made tuition inadequate. It was obvious that only a central university college could provide a satisfactory standard of university education.

Grahamstown, out of the mainstream of commercial and industrial life, seemed an unlikely choice for a university city, but local residents were strongly in favour of the idea. The chief obstacle was lack of funds. The South African War of 1899-1902 almost extinguished the project.

In December 1902 Josiah Slater, Member of Parliament for Albany and editor of the Graham's Town Journal, called a meeting to try to rekindle public interest. He succeeded beyond all expectations, but enthusiastic promises of local and financial support were not enough. The newly-formed committee applied, unsuccessfully, to the Rhodes Trustees for the financial backing they needed.

Selmar Schonland, distinguished botanist and curator of Albany Museum, then tried a direct approach to one of the Rhodes Trustees, Dr. Leander Starr Jameson.

Jameson, soon to be elected Member of Parliament for Albany and Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, promised £50,000 without consulting his fellow Trustees. At first they refused to confirm the grant; then, persuaded by Schonland, they made over De Beers Preference Shares to the value of £50,000 to Rhodes University College, founded by Act of Parliament on May 31, 1904.

The early years

The four St Andrew's College professors, Arthur Matthews, George Cory, Stanley Kidd and GF Dingemans became founding professors of the Rhodes University College and Matthew's outstanding survey class provided the nucleus of the Rhodes student body. The new university college prepared its students for the examinations of the University of the Cape of Good Hope.

At the beginning of 1905, Rhodes moved from cramped quarters at St Andrew's to the Drostdy building, which it bought from the British Government. During 1905 seven new professors, including Schonland, joined the original four. One of the distinctive features which evolved early in Rhodes' history was the tutorial system, adapted from the Oxbridge model. Each student was assigned to a staff member who took a personal interest in his or her work and welfare. As numbers increased, students were assigned tutors and tutorial groups within academic departments, providing a forum for the lively debate characteristic of a Rhodes education.


The foundations of the Rhodes residential system were founded within a decade. Steadily growing student numbers put pressure on available accommodation in school hostels and 'approved boarding houses' as well as class and laboratory space in the motley collection of military buildings housing the college.

At this point, Baker and Kendall, the firm started by an architect of growing reputation, Herbert Baker, offered their services to the Council to draw plans for a new Rhodes. Their design won the competition held by the Council in 1910. Within five years a new Chemistry-Zoology block and the first residences for men and women, College and [http://campus.ru.ac.za/index.php?action=category&category=336/ Oriel] , were built to Baker and Kendall plans.

Moves by the South African College in Cape Town and the Victoria College in Stellenbosch to become autonomous universities began as early as 1905. The Rhodes Senate and Council quickly realised that an independent Cape Town University might threaten the still precarious existence of Rhodes. Fears were only allayed when Rhodes became a constituent college of the new University of South Africa in 1918.

By 1917 Rhodes' finances had ebbed to the point where staff retrenchment became unavoidable. However, expansion was essential for survival. Increased postwar subsidies, a government bond on all Rhodes property and further help from the Rhodes Trustees made possible the construction of the first part of the Baker Arts Block and more residences.

Hard times

Sir John Adamson became first Master of Rhodes in 1925. Further loans and another government bond were negotiated and building continued. The first sign of trouble ahead was a sharp drop in enrolment between 1927 and 1929 and the full force of the Depression struck Rhodes amidships in 1931 and 1932.

Government grants were drastically reduced and De Beers did not declare a dividend in 1932. At the height of the crisis, Cullen Bowles, Professor of Classics, succeeded Adamson as Master.

Sudden national economic recovery in 1933 meant restored government subsidies and an end to staff salary cuts. Armed with grants from the government and the Rhodes Trustees, and loans from various municipalities, the Council went ahead with the building of more residences and the completion of the Baker main block and tower. Bowles retired in 1937, after seven stormy years as Master and 26 years at Rhodes. Professor John Smeath Thomas succeeded him.

At the end of 1938 the Carnegie Corporation made a Carnegie Library Fellowship available to train the first Rhodes Librarian, FG van der Riet. A substantial grant to buy books for the Rhodes Library followed.

Despite the outbreak of war, student numbers continued to rise. The ambitious building programme went on throughout the war and post war years with funds borrowed from the municipalities of Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth, East London, King William's Town and Cape Town.

The day of reckoning

When the future of the University of South Africa came under review in 1947, Rhodes opted to become an independent university. However, £150,000 in free capital was needed for endowment. So, far from being available, Rhodes was soon forced to pledge its remaining De Beers Preference Shares to the bank as security against a soaring overdraft.

At this critical point, Dr Thomas Alty succeeded Smeath Thomas as master of a college owing £56,015. Alty's courageous decision to ride out the storm was soon confirmed by events. Just as it seemed Rhodes was finally facing dissolution, the partners of a Grahamstown printing firm, Hugh and Vincent Grocott, knocked on Dr Alty's door one evening and, almost apologetically, handed him a cheque for a considerable sum of money. Their gift seemed to act as a catalyst.

Birth of a university

The government and the Grahamstown City Council took steps to help extricate Rhodes from its predicament, and an insurance company lent the college £200,000 on favourable terms. When the Rhodes University Private Bill was passed in April 1949 an appeal for funds was launched. Response from the Rhodes Trustees, the directors of De Beers Consolidated Mines and numerous other public and private organisations and individuals was overwhelming. Soon £100 000 had been subscribed and further £50,000 was promised, with a £1 for each £1 donation pledged by the government.

Rhodes University was inaugurated on March 10, 1951. Sir Basil Schonland, son of Selmar Schonland became the first Chancellor of his alma mater, and Alty the first Vice Chancellor. In terms of the Rhodes University Private Act, the University College of Fort Hare was affiliated to Rhodes University.

This mutually beneficial arrangement continued until the government decided to disaffiliate Fort Hare from Rhodes. The Rhodes Senate and Council objected strongly to this, and to the Separate University Education Bill, which they condemned as interference with academic freedom. However, the two bills were passed, and Fort Hare's affiliation to Rhodes came to an end in 1959.

Negotiations with the Port Elizabeth City Council culminated in the opening of the short-lived Port Elizabeth Division of Rhodes University in 1961. Rhodes withdrew from Port Elizabeth at the end of 1964 after the government decided to replace the Division with an independent, dual-medium University of Port Elizabeth.

Continued growth

James Hyslop succeeded Alty in 1963, at a time of rapid expansion which continued throughout the decade. Facilities at Rhodes were strained to the limit. When the Community of the Resurrection closed the Grahamstown Training College, the University was provided with a solution to the critical shortage of space. Negotiations began in 1971 to buy the Training College buildings and grounds and a number of adjacent buildings. The Law and Divinity Departments moved into the St Peter's complex in 1975, followed by Education in 1977 and Music and Musicology in 1979.

Dr Derek Henderson, an Old Rhodian, succeeded Hyslop in October 1975, during the continuing development of the University.

Four St Peter's residences, [http://www.canterbury.ru.ac.za/ Canterbury] , [http://www.salisbury.ru.ac.za/ Salisbury] , [http://www.winchester.ru.ac.za/ Winchester] and [http://www.truro.ru.ac.za/ Truro] , were in university use by 1979. The beautiful chapel of St Mary and All the Angels, designed by Kendall, is now the Rhodes University Chapel. It was proclaimed a national monument in 1980. This area of campus, and the four residences named above, form part of [http://www.allanwebb.ru.ac.za/ Allan Webb Hall] .

The former mother house was restored with generous outside assistance and was re-opened as the Gold Fields Centre for English during its centenary month of July, 1992.

, which completes the second quadrangle. With English, Geography and the existing Library it also forms a third quadrangle, to complete the development of the University's central area.

Generous gifts from mining houses enabled the University to complete the Kimberley Hall complex by opening Gold Fields House in 1985 and De Beers House in 1988. A new residence, named Allan Gray House, in the Drostdy Hall complex was constructed as a result of a generous donation by Allan Gray Investments. It was opened to students in 1993. In addition, a new residence, called New House, was built in the Jan Smuts Hall complex, and was commissioned in 1994.

A further significant expansion to the Grahamstown campus began late in 1997. The Eden Grove complex containing the Registrar's Division, Cory Library and lecture accommodation was commissioned in mid-1999.

During the 2000 construction on the Hamilton Building to house the Departments of [http://www.cs.ru.ac.za/ Computer Science] and [http://www.is.ru.ac.za/ Information Systems] was begun. The building was commissioned in 2001. It is an ultra-modern, high-technology facility. A number of new houses and a dining hall were constructed in 2001 and 2002 in the Stanley Kidd complex. The hall was, as a result, separated from Kimberley Hall and now forms the Nelson Mandela Hall of residence. The acquisition of the Settlers Inn property at the end of 2001 led to the establishment of the Gavin Relly Postgraduate Village which was taken into use at the beginning of 2002.

Student enrolments passed 3,000 in 1982, 4,000 in 1991 and exceeded 5,000 in 2001 in Grahamstown and East London. Dr David Woods, an Old Rhodian and distinguished scientist, succeeded Dr Henderson in May 1996. Despite steady growth, Rhodes is still a small university whose excellence is in part a product of its smallness. About half of the Grahamstown students live in the 43 residences. Classes are still small enough to make individual tuition in tutorial groups feasible. The future of Rhodes lies not in greater numbers, but in increasing academic excellence and building upon almost a century of academic achievement.

As part of the national restructuring of the higher education system, in 2002 Cabinet approved the recommendation of the Minister of Education that the East London Campus be incorporated with the University of Fort Hare. The incorporation took place on January 1, 2004.

2004 was Rhodes's Centenary year. The event provided the University a unique opportunity to celebrate and reflect on its considerable achievements and their impact on society - in southern Africa and all over the world. A variety of academic and reunion events were staged to mark the occasion and bring the University community closer together.

During the 2006 April graduation ceremony a new building, the African Media Matrix housing the [http://jms.ru.ac.za/ School of Journalism and Media Studies] , was officially opened by Connie Molusi, alumnus and CEO of [http://www.johncom.co.za/ Johnnic Communications] [http://jms.ru.ac.za/news.php?aID=9] .

On the 1st of June 2006, David Woods was succeeded as vice chancellor by Saleem Badat. Dr Badat came to Rhodes after several years as chief executive office of the [http://www.che.ac.za/ Council on Higher Education] in South Africa.

ports at Rhodes

From rugby to rowing, cross country to cricket, and surfing to squash, Rhodes University has a large number of active sports clubs on campus. There are some 29 clubs on offer covering a wide variety of interest areas and students are encouraged to take part on a social, recreational or competitive level. Some of the facilities on campus include:

* Floodlit Artificial Hockey Surface
* Heated Swimming Pool
* Multi-user Clubhouse
* Two Floodlit Rugby Fields
* Beach Volleyball Court
* Cricket Fields
* Martial Arts Dojo
* Rowing / Sailing Clubhouse at Settlars Dam
* Floodlit Grass Hockey Field
* Weight Training Facility
* Floodlit Soccer Fields

* Aerobics & Table Tennis Hall
* 9 Tennis Courts (6 floodlit)
* Spinning Studio
* 9 Squash Courts
* Indoor Climbing Wall
* Rowing Tank
* Basketball, Volleyball & Badminton Hall
* Floodlit Athletics Track
* Outdoor Floodlit Basketball & Netball Court
* 50m Floodlit Rifle Range
* 100m Floodlit Archery Range
* 2 Floodlit Grass Netball Courts

Notable alumni: general

* Ray Carlson - Former Springbok rugby player
* Nan Cross - anti-conscription and anti-apartheid activist
* Embeth Davidtz - Actress
* K. Sello Duiker - Novelist, screenwriter
* Kenneth A. C. Elliott - Professor of Biochemistry, McGill University, 1944-1971
* Alice Krige - Actress
* Michael Roberts - British Historian
* Ian Smith - Former Prime Minister of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), 1965 - 1979
* William Smith - South Africa's popular television science and mathematics teacher
* Max Theiler - Virologist, Nobel prize winner (1951)
* Wilbur Smith - Novelist
* Guy Butler - Poet, writer and former staff member
* Ihron Rensburg - Vice-Chacellor of the University of Johannesburg
* Ian Roberts - Actor
* Marguerite Poland - Novelist
* Sir Basil Schonland - scientist, critically important in the development of radar
* Sir Michael Edwardes - Business Executive
* Ivan Glasenberg - CEO Glencore International AG
* Lindiwe Msengana-Ndlela - Director General of Provincial and Local Government
* Dr. Andrija (Zoran) Vujisić - Linguist
* Mandla Mandela - Chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council and grandson of Nelson Mandela
* Sir Chips Keswick - Director of Investec UK
* Patrick Mynhardt - Actor
* Margaret Legum - Economist and anti-apartheid activist
* Matthew Lester - Columnist for the Sunday Times.
* Mluleki George - Former Prisoner on Robben Island; ANC MP and Deputy Minister of the South African Department of Defence; Founding and Executive member of the National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA); Founding member of the United Democratic Front (UDF)
* Humphry Knipe - Adult film writer/director
* Errol Harris - Philosopher
* Richard McQuade - British DJ and Gangsta rapper.
* Dana Wynter - Actress
* The Very Reverend Robert V. Taylor - Dean of St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle; First openly gay Episcopal dean in the United States.
* Timothy Woods - Former head of Gresham's School, England
* Antony Roy Clark- Current head of Gresham's School, England and former head of St Andrew's College.
*Alex Boraine - Deputy Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Notable alumni: journalists, media celebrities in South Africa

One of the most well known departments on the Rhodes campus is the university's school of Journalism and Media Studies, through which many of South Africa's most notable media celebrities have passed. There are also an especially high number of radio celebrities who graduated at Rhodes - many of them having spent time with the university's campus radio station Rhodes Music Radio.

Some of the important media celebrities and industry figures from Rhodes include:

* Nicole Fox - Evening DJ on 5fm.
* Reuben Goldberg - News anchor on popular radio station 5fm. (Not the popular American cartoonist).
* Graeme Joffe - Sports presenter, formerly with CNN/SI and now with Supersport and radio station 94.7 Highveld Stereo.
* Jeremy Mansfield - South African radio host, television presenter, comedian
* Anand Naidoo - Anchor & Correspondent for Al Jazeera English based in Washington DC.
* Dicksy Ngqula - Television presenter and weekend DJ on 5FM.
* Justin Nurse - Anti-corporate activist and owner of satirical clothing brand Laugh It Off.
* David O'Sullivan - Award winning journalist and talk-show presenter on Talk Radio 702.
* Leigh-Ann Paulick - Presenter at M-Net Supersport.
* Lindsay Walker - Scientist and broadcaster.
* Connie Molusi - Former CEO of Johncom.
* Haru Mutasa - Correspondent for Aljazeera International.
* Kyle Hannan - Director of BCFM in Bristol, national UK satellite radio presenter and manager of the UK's first combined Muslim and Jewish broadcaster Radio Salaam Shalom.
* Bruce Whitfield - Business editor and presenter on Talk Radio 702.
* Sherwin Bryce-Pease - Presenter, Weekend Live on SABC.
* Nick Grubb - Programme Manager at 5FM.
* Tove Kane - South Afircan radio host on 94.7 Highveld Stereo.
* Paul Viv - Television personality on SABC 3.
* Naveen Singh - Presenter and programme manager at East Coast Radio.
* Mlu - DJ on 5FM.

Notable staff

* Justin Jonas - Astrophysicist and champion of the South African Square Kilometre Array bid [http://www.ska.ac.za/] , Justin also wrote a seminal paper on [http://eprints.ru.ac.za/28/ The 2326 MHz radio continuum emission of the Milky Way] .
* Tebello Nyokong - Professor of Chemistry as well as Shoprite/Checkers Woman of the year 2004, she was awarded the Order of Mapungbwe: Bronze by the President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Thabo Mbeki (2005) for her work on photodynamic therapy (a promising new cure for cancer).
* André Brink - Lecturer in Afrikaans and Dutch literature, (1961 - 1990) and one of South Africa's most famous writers. He has lectured at universities and institutions on five continents, and has honorary doctorates from the universities of Witwatersrand, Free State, Pretoria, Rhodes and Montpellier. He is currently Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Cape Town.
* Obie Oberholzer - Contemporary South African Photographer, author of several pictorial books [http://www.allbookstores.com/author/Obie_Oberholzer.html]
*Avery Clare - artist (taught in Dept of Fine Art 1973-1984)
*Andrew Buckland - playwright, actor and Professor in the University Drama Department.
*Alistiar Kerr - (1955 - 1990), Leading authority on Customary law in South Africa. Currently Professor Emeritus in the University Law Faculty.
*Julian Cobbing - Professor of African History. Wrote an influential and controversial theory on the nature of the Mfecane.
* Professor Guy Berger, Head, School of Journalism

ee also

*List of universities in South Africa

External links

* [http://www.ru.ac.za Rhodes University Website]
* [http://www.nafest.co.za/ National Arts Festival Website]

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