December 6, 2013

His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma
Republic of South Africa
Union Buildings

Dear President Zuma:

We want to express to you the sorrow of the entire New York University community on the death of Nelson Mandela, and convey to you and to his loved ones our deepest sympathies.

In his courage, his perseverance and self-sacrifice, his righteousness, his unflagging hopes for his nation, his commitment to his principles, his enormous graciousness, his belief in peace, and his ability to rise above bitterness when he had every good reason to indulge it, he was a hero to the NYU community, the City of New York, the United States, and the world. For those in the profession of teaching, the loss is a particularly keen one – he embodied and exemplified everything we hope our own students will one day step forward and achieve.

We consider his visit to our campus in 2002 to launch our Wagner School’s Fund for African Public Service Education and to receive NYU’s Presidential Medal one of the great moments in our University’s history; and so, today, we feel as though we, too, have lost one of our own. The students, faculty, administrators, and staff of the NYU community grieve with the people of South Africa today, our grief tempered only by the solace of having been able to admire and learn from his life and his great quest for dignity and justice for South Africa’s black people, an undertaking that inspired a sense of idealism, human progress, and possibilities here at NYU and throughout the world.

Please know that you, the Mandela family, and the people of South Africa are in our thoughts
and hearts.


John Sexton, President
Martin Lipton, Chair, Board of Trustees
Mariam Ehrari, Chair, Student Senators Council
Raghu Sundaram, Chair, Faculty Senators Council
Lynn Videka, Chair, Deans Council
David Vogelsang, Chair, Administrative Management Council