UCT VC pays tribute to the late Dr Stuart Saunders

13 February 2021 | Director Roxanne Harris. Videography and video edit Oatmeal Productions. Photo Lerato Maduna.

UCT Vice-Chancellor Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng pays tribute to the late Dr Stuart Saunders, who served the university exceptionally well for a remarkable 16 years, holding the role of vice-chancellor from 1981 until 1996.

Dr Saunders died in his sleep following a short illness and had not been ill for some time as UCT news initially reported. UCT conveys heartfelt condolences to his children, Jane and John, the entire Saunders family and to those who knew or worked with him.

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Dr Stuart Saunders


The University of Cape Town (UCT) hosted an online memorial service for former Vice-Chancellor Dr Stuart Saunders on 24 February. Dr Saunders was a dedicated servant, steward and supporter of UCT. He passed away on Friday morning, 12 February 2021.

Stuart John Saunders was born in Cape Town, South Africa, on 28th August 1931. After graduating MBChB with honours in 1953 at the University of Cape Town, he did post-graduate research at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School at Hammersmith in London and at Harvard University. He received the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1965 (University of Cape Town). He began his administrative career as the University of Cape Town’s Head of the Department of Medicine (1971-1980) and was co-founder of the university’s Liver Clinic & Liver Research Unit (a field in which he wrote some two hundred articles and co-authored a study that has become a classical reference). He was Vice-Chancellor from January 1981 to August 1996.

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