Condolences from the North-West University: Passing of Prof Tjaart van der Walt
It is with great sadness that the North-West University (NWU) community learned about the passing of the 85-year old Prof Tjaart van der Walt during the night of 22 February 2019.
Prof Tjaart van der Walt has done it all. Apart from the fact that he was rector of the former Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (PU for CHE) during the period 1977 to 1987, and also chancellor of the former University of Bophuthatswana later in his career, he can also be described as an extraordinary leader and an ambassador.
He was an exceptional leader who loved people and was devoted to God. This was evident in his first posting – as minister for the Reformed Church in Krugersdorp in 1962.
During his term as rector of the former PU for CHE, Prof Tjaart considered student life a priority. He launched an investigation into student services, student life and university sports, and strengthened their structures to make everything more functional.
Based on his remarkable planning, the then Council of the university decided to establish the Faculty of Engineering in 1981 and the Faculty of Pharmacy in 1983, now the school of pharmacy as part of the Faculty of Health Sciences.
After he left the academia, he was appointed as ambassador to Bophuthatswana in 1992. After the advent of democracy in 1994, the then premier of the North-West Province requested him to stay on as a full-time advisor.
Prof Tjaart completed a BA degree in 1951, followed by honours and ThB degrees at the then PU for CHE. He also completed an honours degree in Classical Languages at the University of the Witwatersrand. He was also elected as extraordinary professor in New Testament studies in 2000 by the PU for CHE’s Faculty of Theology.
During 2017 the NWU honoured Prof Tjaart with an NWU Lifetime Achievement Award as part of its alumni recognition.
“Our hearts go out to his bereaved widow, Babie as well as his children and other family members during this time of mourning. Tjaart displayed vision at his time and that vision is still today being pursued in our strategy to transform and position the NWU as a unitary institution of superior academic excellence with a commitment to social justice. His vision will always be treasured”, Prof Dan Kgwadi, vice-chancellor of the NWU remarked this morning after being informed of the passing Prof Tjaart.
Prof Tjaart van der Walt