Colin Rushmere 2006

Colin Rushmere was one of the key transformation agents of the University of Port Elizabeth. He brought a different thinking to the University and was one of the two Councillors who met with the National Education Council of the ANC, long before 1994.  He served the University as an invaluable member of the UPE Council, playing a major role in changing the culture inside the Council to opening up to all points of view.

Colin Rushmere served on the UPE Trust from 1994 and became Chairperson of the UPE Trust in 1995, a portfolio which he held until 2000.   His significant contributions in this portfolio reflect his business acumen and feel for the market place.

After he decided to stand down as Chairman he continued to serve on the Trust for another three years and lend invaluable support to the new Chairperson.  Colin will always be remembered as Mister Property on the Trust, encouraging other Trustees to support him in acquiring new properties for the Trust. Two properties were bought in Summerstrand now used by the International Office as accommodation for foreign students. The value of these properties has increased dramatically over the last few years and maybe the Trustees should have supported him more in this area!

It was always an ideal of Colin that the capital base of the Trust should reach R100 million before he retired and together with his good friend Jack Deschmidt, it was achieved through brilliant planning and investments.  It was also under his leadership that the decision was made to appoint the first full-time employee to ensure a coordinated approach to the outside world. His support in this regard was of immense value. Maybe the strongest part of his contribution was his leadership abilities in making the trustees feel valued and enthusiastic to perform their task.

Mr Rushmere also made major contributions in his role as member of Finance Committee of Council and the Financial Aid for Undergraduate Students Committee.

The University of Port Elizabeth was fortunate to have a visionary planner in Colin Rushmere when he was appointed as member of the Building and Grounds Committee in 1988.  He became the Chairperson of the University’s Building and Grounds Committee in 1994, spearheading and driving multiple projects on the campus until the disbanding of the Committee in 2004.  Some of the most significant projects under his chairmanship were the shared building of the Astroturf by ex-PET and ex-UPE, the building of the Student Centre and the Postgraduate Student Village, the revamping of the Unitas residence and the conversion of Guest Quarters into more residences, the enclosing of the University’s swimming pool, the 24 hour Aberdare Computer Laboratory, and many more.  As Chairperson of the Facilities Management Committee, he contributed enormously towards the development and maintenance of facilities. 

UPE cricket had a staunch supporter in Colin Rushmere.  As President of EP Cricket he believed that a strong university cricket team would form the basis of a strong provincial team.  Bursaries were made available to the university to retain the best players in the province and to attract other promising players from across the country.  He was instrumental in appointing the legendary coach, David Trist and attracting Springbok Cricket Captain, Kepler Wessels to the university.  During his term as President, Eastern Province won the Currie Cup for the first time in its history and shortly after that the Treble- a unique achievement! The EP Cricket team, at that stage comprising of nine current and ex-UPE students.

Colin Rushmere unconditionally availed himself to assist in keeping the university at the forefront, whether in the sports arena or the boardroom.  The University was indeed honoured to have had Mr Colin Rushmere in its ranks.