University of Rochester

Scholarship in South Africa Honors Sam Nolutshungu

April 13, 1998

The new president of a major South African university has praised the work of a University of Rochester professor who died last year, and has created a scholarship to remember him in his home country.

To honor Samuel C. Nolutshungu, the late professor of political science and African politics at Rochester, the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg will award a scholarship in international relations to a postgraduate student each year.

In his inaugural address March 25, Vice Chancellor Colin Bundy reminded the audience that Nolutshungu had been the search committee's first choice to fill the position of president, which is called vice chancellor there. "While I am the first to be installed as a result of this (democratic) process, I am not the first to have been offered the post," said Bundy. "That distinction belongs to Sam Nolutshungu, and were it not for his tragic death last year, it is he who would have been on the platform this evening."

Nolutshungu died of cancer last Aug. 12 in Rochester. In December 1996, he was selected to be the next vice chancellor at Witwatersrand, considered one of the most powerful and prestigious academic positions in the country. But in January 1997, he declined the post for health reasons.

"I knew Sam 25 years ago when we were both teaching in Manchester (England)," stated Bundy. "I want to remember Sam and to honor him and I am absolutely secure in the knowledge that the entire community of this university will wish to do so, too. For this reason, I am pleased to announce the creation of an annual postgraduate scholarship in international relations named for Sam Nolutshungu." Those in the audience applauded.

As a university student, Sam Nolutshungu left his homeland because of apartheid policies and went into exile in England, where he stayed to earn his doctorate and become a university faculty member. He came to the University of Rochester in 1991 as a tenured professor in the Department of Political Science.

Bundy said he had discussed the scholarship with Nolutshungu's widow, Velisiwe. "She was particularly pleased that his memorial will be an academic one; it is what he would have wished," according to Bundy. Mrs. Nolutshungu and the couple's two daughters, Nomvuyo and Nomalungelo, are residents of Pittsford, N.Y.