Nelson Mandela — 1918-2013

A message from President Cole

Dear Members of the Montclair State University Community:

On December 5, 2013, Nelson Mandela died.  For many of my generation, and I hope for many of the present generation as well, Nelson Mandela was an inspiring example of what one human being, endowed with courage and with purpose, could do to help shape a better world.  Nelson Mandela gave everything he had to give to work toward the ideal of a democratic society in which every person has an opportunity to live in peace and with dignity. 

In his own life, he achieved much more than it was reasonable to expect that any single person could achieve.  By his example, he has reminded us to expect much more of ourselves than perhaps we would have expected without his example.  As President Obama said, he taught us never to discount the difference that one man or woman can make. 

Nelson Mandela was a man of incredible courage, a man capable of forgiveness, and a man who lived a life of service.  President Zuma of South Africa said, “We saw in him what we seek in ourselves.”  I hope that, as a community, we do seek in ourselves what we saw in him, and I hope that we are willing to work, as he was, for a democratic nation that accepts every person as a fully equal member of the human family, as a brother or sister, as deserving, as our own Declaration of Independence says, of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 

In remembrance of this remarkable and inspirational human being, I have asked the University’s flags to be flown at half-mast.  To our wonderful educational community, I say, let us not forget to learn what this extraordinary man had to teach us.


President Susan A. Cole