Max Price

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Max Price
Max Price.JPG
NationalitySouth African
Alma materUniversity of the Witwatersrand, Oxford University, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
OccupationFormer vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Town
ChildrenJessica Price, Ilan Price

Max Price is the former vice-chancellor and principal of the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa. He was installed as vice-chancellor on 19 August 2008, replacing Njabulo Ndebele, and maintained this position until completing his 10-year term on 30 June 2018.

Education and career[edit]

A qualified medical doctor, Price previously served as Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand.

He has an MBBCh degree from the University of the Witwatersrand (1979); a BA (Hons) PPE (Oxford University 1983); an M.Sc in Community Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and a Diploma in Occupational Health from Wits University.[1]

Student years and activism[edit]

During Price's time as a student, he served[2] as President of the Student Representative Council at Wits University during South Africa's student protest years of 1976 to 1978, as well as an executive member[3] of NUSAS.

While organising the first anniversary commemorations of the Soweto Uprising, Price was arrested and detained[4] in solitary confinement for 12 days at John Vorster Square.

Price was awarded[5] a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University from 1981 to 1983.

Post-apartheid policy-making[edit]

In 1988, Price joined[6] the newly established Centre for Health Policy in South Africa, which had the primary focus of envisioning post-apartheid health policy.

In 1992, Price served as Chairperson of the first Steering Committee[7] of the National Progressive Primary Health Care Network (NPPHCN) / South African Health and Social Services Organisation (SAHSSO) Policy Conference.

Throughout his career, he authored local and international journal articles, technical papers, and media contributions[8] on topics including health systems research, the political economy of health, health economics and financing, privatisation and medical aids, rural health, the computer simulation modelling of health systems, and medical education.

Dean: Faculty of Health Sciences[edit]

In 1995, at age 40, while on sabbatical at Harvard University, Price was approached to serve as Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences of Wits University; a position he accepted and held from 1996 to 2006. In 1997, the Faculty made a submission[9] to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and held an internal reconciliation process, inviting black alumni to express how they had experienced training as doctors under apartheid.

As Dean, Price led a series of initiatives,[10] including the Internal Reconciliation Commission; a graduate entry medical programme; academic programmes in rural health, bio-ethics, sports medicine, emergency medicine, and bio-medical sciences; and the founding of the country's first university-owned private teaching hospital, The Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre, and the first university research company,[11] Wits Health Consortium.

In 2004, Price was elected an Honorary Fellow Ad Eundum[12] of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa in Public Health Medicine. From 2006 to 2008, Price served on the board of directors of the Aurum Institute for Health Research,[13] a not-for-profit AIDS/Tuberculosis research organisation.

Vice-Chancellor of UCT[edit]

Price was installed as vice-chancellor of UCT on 19 August 2008. During Price's decade-long tenure, UCT saw a number of new institutes and initiatives,[14] including the Hasso Plattner School of Design Thinking, the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, and the Global Citizen Initiative.

Price also oversaw the increasing of the institution's research output and impact, in the form of an 85% increase in the number of peer-reviewed publications;[15] the doubling[16] of National Research Foundation-rated researchers; growth[17] in international student numbers and research collaborations; a 43% increase in masters and doctoral students;[18] and the trebling[19] of research income.

During the period of Price's stewardship, UCT was the first university[20] on the African continent to begin to offer massive open online courses or MOOCs. It was consistently ranked in the world's top 200 universities[21] according to the Times Higher Education rankings and as Africa's top university[22] in almost all rankings.

Price's own initiatives, referred to as Vice-Chancellor Strategic Initiatives (and spanning university-wide cross-disciplinary research initiatives to address critical national challenges), included the African Climate and Development Initiative, the Safety and Violence Initiative, the Poverty and Inequality Initiative, and the Schools Improvement Initiative.

In 2015 Price was co-founder and first Chair [23] of the African Research Universities Alliance, created to strengthen links between research universities in Africa.

He was also a Member[24] of the Global Universities Leaders’ Forum of the World Economic Forum and a Member of the Board of Directors[25] of the Community Organisation Resources Centre (CORC).

Fees Must Fall movement

From 2015 to 2017, the University of Cape Town experienced a series of student and worker protests that were part of a larger national protest movement. The key issues were the demand for free education (#FeesMustFall); decolonisation and transformation (#RhodesMustFall); and union demands for outsourced workers to be re-insourced.[26]

As vice-chancellor, Price's leadership of the university's approach to the protests generated both criticism and praise[27] from many sides. Some argued[28] that the protests should not be sanctioned by negotiation, but responded to with stern disciplinary action and security. Others argued[29] that the UCT Executive was insufficiently sensitive to student suffering and that the use of private security and police to control protests was unnecessary.

At the national level, the #FeesMustFall movement achieved a commitment from government[30] to provide grants to fully fund university education for students from lower income households (below R350,000 a year). At UCT, the movement led to the removal of the statue of Cecil John Rhodes from its position in the centre of the campus[31] and to numerous initiatives to address the coloniality of the institutional culture. Another success was the insourcing of 1300 workers[32] (including cleaners, drivers, security, residence kitchen staff) who had previously been outsourced.

Recent Memberships

Price served[33] as Chair of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) Partnership Board from 2014 to 2016, and as Vice-Chair during 2013-2014 and 2016-2017.

From 2011 to 2018, Price was a Member of the Council (Governing Body)[34] of the University of Ghana, Legon. From 2014 to 2018, he was a Member of the Global Council of Hanban,[35] the Headquarters of the Confucius Institutes, serving as one of ten university presidents who constitute its external members.

Price currently serves on a panel of senior external experts selected for the Expert Commission[36] of Fondation Botnar, which provides funding opportunities for research and innovation to benefit children and young people.


  1. ^ "Dr Max Price CV" (PDF).
  2. ^ "SA History" (PDF).
  3. ^ "SA History" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Wits Alumni Relations - July 2012".
  5. ^ "CMSA Transactions Jan 2005 - June 2019".
  6. ^ "From education to activism, Max Price leaves a remarkable legacy". South African Jewish Report. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  7. ^ "SA History - April 1993" (PDF).
  8. ^ "Max Price - Google Scholar Citations". Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  9. ^ Goodman, Tanya; Price, Max (2002). "Using an Internal Reconciliation Commission to Facilitate Transformation at a Health Sciences Faculty in Post-Apartheid South Africa: The Case of Witwatersrand Health Sciences Faculty". Health and Human Rights. 6 (1): 211. doi:10.2307/4065322. ISSN 1079-0969. JSTOR 4065322.
  10. ^ "Arena - July 2002". CiteSeerX Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ "Wits Health Consortium Annual Report 2017" (PDF). pp. 4–5.
  12. ^ "CMSA Transactions Jan 2005 - June 2019".
  13. ^ "The Aurum Institute | Annual Report - 2007". Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  14. ^ "UCT News". pp. 174–177. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  15. ^ "Institutional Review: 2008–2018". Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  16. ^ "Institutional Review: 2008–2018". Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  17. ^ "Institutional Review: 2008–2018". pp. 76–97.
  18. ^ "Institutional Review: 2008–2018". Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  19. ^ "Institutional Review: 2008–2018". pp. 20, 21, 26. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  20. ^ "UCT | Centre for Innovation in Learning & Technology - July 2016".
  21. ^ "University of Cape Town". Times Higher Education (THE). 2019-03-25. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  22. ^ "Rankings of universities in South Africa", Wikipedia, 2019-04-10, retrieved 2019-04-25
  23. ^ "African Research Universities Alliance launched". University World News. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  24. ^ "Global University Leaders Forum". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  25. ^ "CORC". South African SDI Alliance. 2012-05-23. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  26. ^ "Insourcing at universities: uneven progress". News24. 2017-03-15. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  27. ^ "UCT's Price survives vote of no confidence". eNCA. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  28. ^ "UCT's Price survives vote of no confidence". eNCA. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  29. ^ Hendricks, By Ashleigh Furlong and Ashraf (2016-10-18). "Protesters clash with private security on UCT". GroundUp News. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  30. ^ "Jacob Zuma's final speech as ANC president".
  31. ^ Knudsen, Britta Timm; Andersen, Casper (2019). "Affective politics and colonial heritage, Rhodes Must Fall at UCT and Oxford". International Journal of Heritage Studies. 25 (3): 239–258. doi:10.1080/13527258.2018.1481134.
  32. ^ "UCT in-sources workers".
  33. ^ "Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) | Annual Report - 2015 & 2016" (PDF).
  34. ^ "New Governing Council for University of Ghana | University of Ghana". Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  35. ^ "Confucius Institute - January 2018" (PDF).
  36. ^ "Fondation Botnar appoints senior experts to its Expert Commission". Fondation Botnar. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Njabulo Ndebele
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town
2008 – July 2018
Succeeded by
Mamokgethi Setati