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Rhodes University
Trust USA

Donovan Neale-May
Chairman of the Board of Trustees


Funding Needs

Projects Available for Funding

International Library of African Music

The Rhodes University Development Office has spent probably the best part of the last three years positioning fundraising as a structured activity which supports University strategies and ambitions. With the University just about to complete its final long-term “size and shape” review, the project priorities which will support its ambitions are becoming far more clearly defined.  At this current moment the following projects are the main focus of Rhodes fundraising efforts:

  • Library Renewal Project
  • New residences
  • Student Financial Aid at all levels of study
  • The Rhodes Sports Trust – an initiative which was established by a generous donations from Donovan Neale-May, a U.S.-based alumnus
  • Development and implementation of an Alumni Annual Fund.  This is a long term project to develop ongoing alumni giving to the institution, the proceeds of which will be used to support University projects.

Whilst these represent current Divisional and Institutional priorities, we have to recognise that there are many other so-called ‘second tier’ projects and needs which are important to the various Faculties.  In terms of the project process outlined above these needs will be tested against a number of criteria prior to the University agreeing to them as defined projects.  If they are not deemed to be of ‘institutional importance’ they will remain as second tier projects and whilst we as a Division will guide the fundraising activities, it will remain the responsibility of the project champion to secure funding.  As it stands we have the following projects on our lists:

Faculty Projects

Rhodes University academics together with their senior management colleagues are currently at a critical stage of Faculty ‘Size and Shape’ debates. Each department has been requested to critical review their current offerings and then to suggest changes and additions in these as part of their overall vision for the future.  These will then be debated at Faculty and institutional level – eventually informing the overall University strategic plan for the next five to 10 years. The conclusion of this intensive planning period is scheduled for the end of November and eventually will translate into a clear understanding of project priorities within the Faculties. Features that have emerged throughout all faculties so far are the urgent need for student bursaries – both for undergraduate and postgraduate, with the Honours year highlighted as most necessary; also required are staff salaries which are compatible with national university standards (if not market levels), staff accommodation to house them when they come to Rhodes, and office space on campus.

New programs will emerge from these debates, as well as the need to support existing ones in order for them to maintain standards of sustainability and excellence. Until these priorities are finalized, the following represents a sample of the kinds of projects requiring funding, particularly in the largest Faculty of Humanities.

Update On The Library Expansion Project: Due for completion at the end of this year, the new library will possess every facility that is essential for cutting-edge academic and research endeavours. At the same time we will also extensively refurbish the current library. This is a R90 million investment on our part, the single biggest investment in the history of Rhodes University and in the town of Grahamstown. For more information please go to:

My School: Supporting Old Rhodian Bursaries:

MyScool Card

Rhodes University has been registered as a beneficiary of MySchool. Any money raised through this partnership will be channelled through the Old Rhodian Union into the bursary fund for children and grandchildren of Old Rhodians. MySchool is South Africa's foremost community support programme and gives Old Rhodians in South Africa a vehicle through which to make a meaningful contribution to the Old Rhodian Bursary Fund. This is not a donation service, but a true partnership between beneficiaries and MySchool business partners. MySchool effectively facilitates support on behalf of a range of business partners who have a specific interest in education.

Supporters use their MySchool supporter cards whenever they transact with one of the MySchool business partners. A small percentage of their transaction is then allocated to their beneficiary school. All these transactions are recorded and a statement is sent to individual supporters on a monthly basis. The supporter card is not a debit or credit card but serves as a measure through which valuable supporter data, such as transactions and funds raised for a particular school, are tracked. This is not a donation service, but a true partnership between schools and business partners.

To read more about MySchool and to apply for your supporters card please go to - don't forget to register Rhodes University as your beneficiary.

International Library of African Music (ILAM): Housing the largest repository of African Music data in the world, this unit requires significant funding to complete digitizing the music, as well as funding to further academic engagement with the music through the teaching and research in ethnomusicology.

Digitizing Project: R450,000 for completion of project
Ethnomusicology: R300,000 p.a.

Download (PDF)

isiXhosa Bursaries for isiXhosa First language program:  Promoting isiXhosa language development and engagement in a more rigorous way than has been attempted at Rhodes before. Undergraduate bursaries are required to attract the right students to this course.

Bursary per student: R50,000 p.a.

Psychology Masters Program With Township High Schools: Providing intervention workshops to the Makana Schools will provide this community with problem-solving and transformative solutions to the many social problems, while providing Masters students with the opportunity to engage with the community in meaningful ways.

Project funding: R190,000 p.a. for three years

Environmental Education: A three year program to bring Bio-cultural Diversity training to the learners of the Makana district will provide them with awareness of environmental factors affecting their own environment, and draw on indigenous learning to find synergies.

Project funding: R140,000 p.a. for three years

First Physical Theatre Company and Ubom! These theatre companies form an important aspect of academic Drama development in South Africa, and provide excellent opportunities for students of drama to be involved in skills development and company experience in Grahamstown.

Company support: R 2 million p.a.


Fine Art Masters Bursaries: To facilitate ongoing academic engagement with Fine Art in an African contect, bursaries to suitable students will contribute to the scholarly development of Art on the continent.

Bursary per student: R40,000 p.a.

Art Gallery: Vital to the preparation of Fine Art graduate students is an accessible and dedicated gallery space, where they can exhibit, as well as learn the curatorship skills required in their field.

Gallery refurbishment and extension: R(negotiable)

Ubuntu Education Fund & Rhodes:  Working with a particularly impoverished community in Port Elizabeth, UEF mentors and supports pupils throughout their high school careers, until they are ready to come to Rhodes. Bursaries to support residence and tuition, as well as living costs, are required to facilitate this partnership.

Busary per student: R45,000




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To contribute content to EXPAT CHAT- contact Donovan Neale-May.


The Neilen Locke Coaching Award

The Neilen Locke Coaching Award, made possible by a generous donation from U.S. Old Rhodian Donovan Neale-May, will be awarded to an individual who has been an outstanding coach for Rhodes University for at least two years. Sports Clubs may nominate and advocate for their coach using the qualities listed below as a guideline.



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