Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his unexpected connection to the UNF


JACKSONVILLE, Florida – Desmond Tutu, South African Nobel Peace Prize-winning icon, an uncompromising enemy of the country’s past racist apartheid policies and a modern-day activist for racial justice and LGBT rights, died Sunday at the age of 90. the globe mourned the death of the man considered the moral conscience of the country.

One of those who mourned Tutu’s death on Sunday was former Jacksonville mayor and University of North Florida president John Delaney.

Tutu taught the “Combating Apartheid” mini-courses at school during the 2003 spring semester and maintained his relationship with the UNF for years thanks to his friend Oupa Seane who was a teacher there.

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“I had the chance to have dinner with Desmond Tutu before interviewing him on stage at the UNF. A great sense of humor and brilliance in humanity and God, often in the same sentence. Several times a year he would send an unexpected email or text offering a prayer. We lost greatness today, ”Delaney tweeted.

Tutu donated a collection of his papers to the Thomas G. Carpenter Library at the UNF in honor of Delaney for 15 years as head of the university and his retirement.

Archbishop Desmund Tutu’s collection was presented to Delaney in 2018 at the university’s annual Professional Development Forum awards luncheon.

The manuscripts will be part of the library’s permanent collection and Tutu wants the documents to be placed in the university archives and made available for institutional research by faculty and students.

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The collection includes:

  • Two manuscripts of books. These are texts that he created while writing the books. At the time of writing the text, the books weren’t published, so they’re drafts. The books that have since been published are: “Number Two to Tutu A Memoir by Michael Nuttall” and “God Has a Dream by Desmond Tutu”, which he wrote while teaching at UNF.

  • Handwritten Notes

  • Lecture notes during teaching at the UNF

  • The speeches he was making around the world at the time

  • Correspondence with friends and assistant

Tutu also came to the UNF in 1999 as part of the Presidential Lecture Series. Behind both visits was Ceane, former deputy director of the Center of International Business Studies at the UNF, a teacher and friend of Tutu during the time Tutu was dean of Johannesburg Cathedral, according to the Jacksonville Daily Record.

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