Deneys Schreiner

2008-05-02 00:00

Professor Deneys Schreiner, the former University of Natal Pietermaritzburg campus principal who died at the weekend will be remembered by thousands of people as a man of integrity. His memory will be held in great respect, while his passing is a reminder of very different times.

In his era, top university administrators were individuals of wide experience, although modest salary, closely associated with the communities they served. The phrase line manager was blessedly unknown to them. They guided largely self-governing faculties, and saw themselves as custodians of a priceless educational asset.

Above all, Schreiner was a fierce advocate of the needs of the Pietermaritzburg campus, historically vulnerable to the vagaries of the Durban centre. He led a highly talented campus, preserving its specific character in a way that contributed significantly to the standing of the university as a whole. This is now a politically incorrect attitude, a fact that could well come to haunt the city.

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