Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) opened on 1 January 2005, the result of the merging of the PE Technikon the University of Port Elizabeth (UPE) and the Port Elizabeth campus of Vista University (Vista PE). This union of three very different institutions came about as a result of government’s countrywide restructuring of higher education – intended to deliver a more equitable and efficient system to meet the needs of South Africa in the 21st century.
NMMU brings together the best traditions of technikon and university education, and draws on more than a century of quality higher education, in a new kind of university that offers a wide range of academic, professional and technological programmes at varying entrance and exit levels.
NMMU has approximately 27 000 students and approximately 2 500 staff members, based on six campuses in the Nelson Mandela Metropole and George. The sites are the North Campus (former PE Technikon), South Campus (former UPE), Second Avenue Campus (former PE Technikon College Campus) Missionvale Campus (former Vista), Bird Street Campus and the George Campus at Saasveld.
The first Chancellor of NMMU was Chief Justice Pius Langa, and Justice Ronnie Pillay the first Chairperson of Council. Dr Rolf Stumpf was the first Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of NMMU, succeeded on 1 January 2008 by Prof Derrick Swartz.
The first step in the merger came with the incorporation of Vista PE by UPE on 2 January 2004, followed by the merger of PE Technikon and UPE on 1 January 2005.