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Nelson Mandela University mourns the passing of the first Vice-Chancellor and CEO of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Dr Rolf Stumpf.  Dr Stumpf was Vice-Chancellor of NMMU from 2006 to 2008.

As Vice-Chancellor and CEO of one of our predecessor institutions, the University of Port Elizabeth (UPE) from April 2002, he was instrumental in leading the merger of the former University of Port Elizabeth, the PE Technikon and Vista University’s PE campus in 2005.  He was thereafter appointed Interim Vice-Chancellor of NMMU, and in September 2005 appointed as Vice-Chancellor.

“We have learned with sadness of the passing of our former Vice-Chancellor Dr Rolf Stumpf.  On behalf of our University, we thank Dr Stumpf for his dedicated service to the University,” said Nelson Mandela University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sibongile Muthwa.

“He delicately, skilfully and successfully steered our University through what was a complex merger process, leaving us with a viable institution that we can be proud of.  He remains one of the most respected leaders in the South African higher education sector.”

“We convey our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.”

Prof Stumpf was a member of the Board of the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) and was elected as a member of the Executive Committee of Higher Education SA (HESA), now known as Universities South Africa (USAF).

He was also a Trustee of the Centre for Higher Education Transformation (CHET), a member of the Academy of Science of SA and served on the Board of Directors of the PE Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Dr Stumpf authored of a number of scientific articles in the field of statistics (qualitative data analysis) and co-author of a book on Graphical Exploratory Data Analysis.  He also authored and co-authored a large number of policy reports in the field of education, especially in higher education.  He read numerous papers on higher education policy, both nationally and internationally.

Dr Stumpf served among others as Executive Officer of the Universities and Technikons Advisory Council (AUT), the SA Council on Education, and the Scientific Advisory Council, while he also chaired the Education Labour Relations Council in 1993 and 1994.  

During 1995/1996, he was Chair of the Committee of Heads of Science Councils and a Commissioner in the National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE).  He also served as a member of the Board of the Research and Technology Foresight Study of the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, from 1997 to 1999 and was a member of the Council on Higher Education from 1998 to 2002.

Dr Stumpf was well-known as Chief Executive Officer of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) from 1993 to 1998 when his passion for higher education took him back into academia.  In 1998 Stellenbosch University appointed him as Vice-Rector (Operations) and in 2000, as Vice-Rector (Teaching).

Dr Stumpf was born in 1945 in the town of Vryheid, KwaZulu Natal.  After completing his schooling in Vryheid and Pietermaritzburg, he enrolled for a degree in Mathematics & Statistics at the University of Pretoria and graduated with a BA (cum laude) in 1967.  He continued with his studies in statistics while lecturing at the University of Pretoria, receiving a BA Hons (cum laude) in 1969 and an MA (cum laude) in 1972.  

In 1974, while studying full-time and lecturing part-time, he completed a Diploma in Theology (cum laude) at the Baptist College of SA in Johannesburg.  He was awarded his PhD in Statistics (Analysis of Qualitative Data) from the University of South Africa in 1984.

During the latter part of his study years, Dr Stumpf held the position as University Planner in the Department of National Education and then took up a position as Senior Research Specialist at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC).

He enjoyed classical music, hiking and reading (social history and exploration/travel).  He leaves behind his wife Adrianne and three children.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777