The Passing of Professor Helen Laburn: A Message From the Vice Chancellor
19 September 2014
While on University business out of the country, I received the tragic news today of the passing of Professor Helen Laburn, following a protracted illness. I worked with Helen for a number of years, first from a distance as a fellow Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, and then more closely in the first six months of my tenure at Wits. Throughout this period, I was struck by Helen’s quiet dignity, yet firm resolve.
Helen served this institution with distinction in multiple roles. Even when she took ill, her loyalty to Wits and its strategic goals never wavered. A few months ago, when I was informed that she had again taken ill, I phoned and spoke to her husband, Ted. He told me that she was not doing well and that it was a matter of time. Today that time has arrived when we witness the passing of one of Wits’ greatest daughters. May she rest in peace. May her family and loved ones find solace during this trying time. Our duty to her memory is to build on the foundation that she laid. As a mark of respect, I have asked that the Wits flag be flown at half-mast for the next three days.