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Donovan Neale-May
Chairman of the Board of Trustees

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Dear Old Rhodians and Friends

It is with profound sadness that we inform the Rhodes Community of the passing away of Mr Neville Errol Woollgar, Vice-Chair of the Rhodes University Council. Neville passed away early on Saturday morning (28 July) of complications following an operation.

Rhodes University was Neville's great love. He served on our Council with competence, generosity, and grace for the past 43 years - with 23 years as the Vice-Chair of Council and Chairperson of the Finance and General Purposes (F&GP) Committee of Council. During this time, he contributed his time, expertise, and resources as a trustee of the Pension and Provident funds, on the Audit Committee, the Joint Planning Committee, as a Council representative on Senate, and through his personal contributions and the support of individual students by the BK Trust of which he was the founding chairman.

Neville was born on 21 December 1939 and educated at Dale College Boys' High School in King William's Town. He went on to study at Rhodes University, where he graduated with a B.Com degree in 1960, majoring in Economics and Accounting. As a student, he represented Rhodes in squash and as the captain of badminton.

After leaving Rhodes, and after a short spell with Mobil Oil, he became the group accountant for a number of clothing and knitting factories in King William's Town. At the age of 30, having repaid his university study loans, Neville decided to enter the legal profession. He served his articles with a firm of attorneys in King William's Town while studying towards his law qualification through UNISA, which he passed with distinction in 1969. He was admitted as an attorney in May 1970 and became a partner in Hutton and Cook Attorneys in King William's Town where he practised for 42 years, specialising in Commercial Law. He retired from the firm in 2011, following a heart bypass.

Neville served as director and chairman for several private and listed public companies. He has served on numerous Public Corporation Development Boards, boards of various charitable trusts, and on the boards of a private and a national bank.

Neville was active in the community and in secondary and tertiary education. In addition to his huge contributions to Rhodes University, he served for many years as Chairman of both the Dale College Governing Body and the Kaffrarian High School governing body. He chaired local and regional school boards and was a member of the Cape Provincial Educational Council for the duration of its existence. He also served on municipal and public bodies such as hospital and museum boards, and as Chairman of the Valuation Court. He was a member of the panel from which the Chairman of the Special Board for the Hearing of Income Tax Appeals is appointed.

In 1993, Neville was elected a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International for service to the community and in 2013, he received a Paul Harris Sapphire Award from Rotary International.

Neville played league squash and badminton for many years and played league cricket in King William's Town. When he got older, Neville played golf exclusively, which he played with a three handicap. Up until a month ago, before he fell ill, Neville still played golf up to three times a week from his retirement home in Port Alfred. He was an avid spectator of sport in general, particularly rugby. He also loved music and reading.

Neville will be fondly remembered for his congeniality and grace, his generosity of spirit, and his passion for Rhodes University. He was always among the first to volunteer when the University was in need of something.

Neville is survived by his beloved wife, Bev, his two children, three stepchildren, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A memorial service is scheduled for Friday, 3 August 2018 at 12pm in the Rhodes Chapel on St Peter's Campus.


Mr V. Kahla
Council Chair


What people are saying on Social Media

Ian Edwards "This is the VERY, VERY, VERY, BEST NEWS of the year being the year of our Lord 2017. As Taki quite correctly stated, sanity has prevailed. As I mentioned previously, all students from the late sixties to the early seventies must have a feeling of exalutation at this wonderful news.”

Mary Todd Vianello "Absolutely wonderful news. I don't agree with what Rhodes did but those were the times. As long as we move on and include everyone."

David Alcock "I am very relieved about this. And I think common sense has prevailed. I am sure there are objections to what the man Cecil John Rhodes stands for but he was a man of his time and we can now enjoy his legacy and try and benefit some of those who have been disadvantaged in the past. Rhodes University has a good name - and I have heard only good things about the university in the UK; and the graduates who get employed prove their worth and make their way successfully in the world. I spent some of my best years at Rhodes University as a student and on the staff of the drama department, a time which formed my thinking and my abilities. I made life-long friends there. So all in all I think this is a good decision.”

Trevor Brodrick "Well done to the voices of reason. Those who are unhappy go elsewhere as we capitalists want to support our university financially and will not if the name changes.”

Camalita Naicker "FFS!! What a shameful decision by Rhodes University Council which has proven once again how uncommitted they are to transformation! I remember in my first year the name change was already being discussed and pushed for by Sasco, The article is false to claim that it was only brought up two years ago, there was always a concern by black students about this name. Now ten years, a whole movement calling for Rhodes to Fall, we are still here."

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