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). The PE Technikon has its roots in the Country’s Oldest Art School, this PE Art School was founded in 1882. The institution later became the College for Advanced Technical Education (CATE), was initially situated in Russell Road, Central. The College moved to Summerstrand, in 1974 and became the PE Technikon in 1979. The Teachers’ Training College in Summerstrand was taken over by the Technikon in 1994, becoming known as the College Campus, and the Algoa College of Education became part of the PE Technikon in 2001.

Situated in Struandale, approximately 25 km away from the Main Campus, this became known as the Algoa Campus. The Port Elizabeth Technikon expanded to the Southern Cape in 1985, when it took over the College for Foresters, Saasveld from the Department of Forestry. The George Campus expanded in 2001 with the purchase of the; Hurteria Building in the Centre of the Town. At the time of the merger, PE Technikon had more than 10 000 students. The Institution’s last Chancellor was former Speaker of Parliament Dr Frene Ginwala, the last Vice-Chancellor Prof Hennie Snyman, and the last Chair of the Council was Mr Clive Stanton.

The University of Port Elizabeth (UPE), the Country’s first Dual-Medium, Residential University, came into being on 31 January 1964. This was after Parliament adopted Act 1 of 1964, as Law. The first Academic Year commenced on 1 March 1965. Initially situated in a series of Buildings in Bird Street, in the Historic Central District. UPE moved to a modern, purpose-built Campus which incorporated Residences, Sports Complex and the towering Main Building. The Campus was officially opened in August 1975 and the final move from Bird Street came in 1979, with the opening of the science blocks at the Suburb of Summerstrand. The University retained some of its Bird Street Buildings and these became the Centre of Community Outreach Activities. Built on 8,3 Square Kilometers of Land donated; by the then Port Elizabeth City Council, the Campus was declared a Nature Reserve in 1983. At the time of the merger, UPE had more than 9 000 contact students and almost 5 000 distance education students. The last Chancellor was Dr Brigalia Bam, the last Vice-Chancellor Dr Rolf Stumpf and the last Chair of Council Mr Trevor Jennings. THIS UNION OF THE 3 VERY DIFFERENT INSTITUTIONS CAME ABOUT AS A RESULT OF THE GOVERNMENTS' COUNTRY WIDE RESTRUCTURING OF HIGHER EDUCATION. THIS IS INTENDED TO DELIVER A MORE EQUITABLE AND EFFICIENT SYSTEM TO MEET THE NEEDS OF SOUTH AFRICA IN THE 21ST CENTURY! NMMU brings this together in the best traditions of Technikon and University education. This 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. NMU 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.

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