Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) is a South African tertiary education institution with its main administration in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth. NMMU formed in January 2005 through the merger of the University of Port Elizabeth, the Port Elizabeth Technikon and the Port Elizabeth campus of Vista University.
NMMU brings together technikon-type and university-type education. The University has seven campuses - five in Port Elizabeth and two in the Southern Cape town of George. It has more 23,000 students studying towards diplomas and degrees up to and including doctoral level qualifications. Qualifications are offered in the Faculties of Arts, Business & Economic Sciences, Education, Engineering; the Built Environment & Information Technology, Health Sciences, Law and Science. A number of courses include workplace experience as part of the curriculum.
The University of Port Elizabeth (UPE), the country’s first dual-medium residential university, came into being on 31 January 1964 and the first academic year commenced on 1 March 1965. UPE moved from Central to Summerstrand in 1974. The campus was officially opened in August 1975 and the final move from Bird Street came in 1979 with the opening of the science blocks at Summerstrand. Built on 830 ha of land donated by the then Port Elizabeth City Council, the campus was declared a nature reserve in 1983.
Vista University (Vista PE) was founded on 1 January 1982 and had its first academic year in 1983. Subsequently, seven decentralized contact tuition campuses were established across South Africa, centered in township areas where the need for accessible and affordable higher education was most urgent. The location of the Port Elizabeth campus opened up access to higher education for many students from socially and financially disadvantaged backgrounds.