No university is an island. Universities form an integral part of the country in which they are situated. Their functions include the obligation and important role they have to play in accepting the talented youth of the country as their students, and educating and preparing them to become responsible citizens who will, in time, develop into future leaders and take over the reins in running the country. Following the demise of apartheid in 1994, the reform of the country's national education system was activated in 2001. The University of Pretoria, like all other universities in the new South Africa, had to position itself within the new tertiary educational landscape. It is thus quite understandable that the period covered by this publication (2001 to 2009) was a historic and challenging time in the history of the University of Pretoria. After serious introspection and numerous discussions and debates between stakeholders on how the
University was to position itself in the new South Africa, the bold decision was made to leave the "safe" and more inward-looking enclave (in which it had previously enjoyed a prominent leading role), and face up to the true challenges by transforming itself into a locally relevant, leading and internationally recognised South African university. Therefore, a new vision and mission were drafted and, once accepted by the relevant stakeholders, appropriate strategic plans were developed to guide Council and the Executive in ensuring that the University of Pretoria would be able to stand up and answer to the challenges with which it was confronted. I was appointed as Chancellor of the University of Pretoria in 2006 and was thus privileged to witness and participate in the course of action that UP had already decided to follow when I arrived. I wish to take this opportunity to also give due recognition to my predecessor, Prof C (Chris) Stals, for his guidance to the University as serving Chancellor from 2001 to 2006. The resolute way in which the University faced its challenges during the period under review was remarkable and made me proud to be part of this institution.