Our Pioneering Journey

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Our pioneering journey began in August 2013 with the promulgation of the Government Gazette making the establishment of the University public on 22 August 2013. The University was launched on 31 October 2013. The first cohort of 169 students were registered in three programmes in February 2014.
The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Minister Nzimande appointed the Interim Council in October 2013 to lay the foundation for the establishment of the University. The Interim Council appointed the Strategic Management Team, comprising  Prof Andy Mokgotlane (Head: Strategic Management Team), Prof John Shongwe (Stakeholder Liaison, Marketing and Communication and Partnerships) and Mr Sandile Mabuza (Secretariat) to manage the day-to-day operations of the University. The substantive University Council was appointed in August 2014 with Prof David Mabunda as the Chairperson. The Registrar, Mr Sello Legodi, was appointed in August 2014, followed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Prof Ric Bernard and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Institutional Support, Prof Rachmond Howard in October 2014. The Vice-Chancellor Prof Thoko Mayekiso was appointed in November 2014. The Dean of Students, Dr Paul Maminza was appointed in January 2015. The Executive Director: Human Resources, Mr Leonard Mavuso and Executive Director: Finance, Mr Kevin Pather were appointed in September and October 2015 respectively.
The Lowveld College of Agriculture was incorporated into the University of Mpumalanga with effect from 1 January 2015.
The inauguration of the Vice-Chancellor took place on 30 May 2015.
The first Chancellor of the University, the Honourable Deputy President, Mr Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa was appointed in January 2016. 
The installation of the Chancellor took place in April 2016.
Justice Mandisa Maya, The President of the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa (SCA) was appointed in July 2021 as the second Chancellor of UMP. The installation of the second Chancellor took place on 30 November 2021. 

The University seeks to produce quality graduates who are nationally and globally competitive who possess the following attributes:
  •  Resourceful, responsive and responsible;
  •  Sound discipline knowledge;
  •  Innovative and entrepreneurial;
  •  Confident and effective communicators;
  •  Ethically and socially aware change agents;
  •  Adaptable.
We have made significant strides in creating a supportive and stimulating environment for staff and students to realise their potential in teaching and learning, research and engagement.
We increased our enrolment from 169 in 2014, to 8 248  in 2023. Our accredited academic programmes increased from three programmes in 2014 to 65 in 2023.
The UMP positions itself as an African University rooted in its home province, Mpumalanga, and is responsive to its political, socio-economic, geographical and historical contexts, as well as its place in the world. 
Our pioneering journey and our relentless pursuit for academic excellence have taught us many lessons, amongst others being the importance of consistent hard-work, determination, perseverance, resilience, passion, integrity and ethical leadership in navigating and shaping our developmental trajectory.
As an engaged institution, we place great value on partnerships and networks as both drivers and enablers in achieving our vision to be “An African University leading in creating opportunities for sustainable development through innovation”. UMP’s partnerships and networks are probably one of our distinctive features as we pride ourselves in fostering strong, vibrant, mutually beneficial partnerships with strategic stakeholders.
The iconic infrastructure and landscaping provide a multifaceted environment inspiring both social and intellectual exchange in an atmosphere that is unconventional, original and creative.
We are creating social spaces for crucial conversations with both internal and external stakeholders, thereby creating a modern, stimulating and inspiring environment that promotes and rewards academic excellence. Although challenges were experienced along the way, we focused on excellence and results and did not allow any negative energy to divert us from our goals and purpose.
In the next five years, we will continue to focus on results, the creation and maintenance of an enabling environment for teaching and learning, research and engagement, as well as the cultivation of mutually beneficial relationships with our internal and external stakeholders, based on mutual respect.
We will revisit and revise our initial strategies against the backdrop of the lessons we have learnt along the way. We must remain forever vigilant to ensure that we do not become oblivious to new avenues as they arise. Agility, flexibility and openness to embrace change, the adaptability of our values and graduate attributes, should be what we always strive for at UMP.
The University takes pride in its motto, Creating Opportunities. As the first University in the Province of Mpumalanga, we have already started creating opportunities for our students, our staff and our surrounding communities, as we will continue to do so.
On behalf of Management, I would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude for the support we have received over the years from the University Council, Senate and the UMP community as a whole.