AIZAWL, Aug 5 - Pachhunga University College(PUC), the oldest college in Mizoram, is mourning the untimely death of its first principal Rev Dr Alwyn Roberts, who died on August 1 at Babor Hospital in his hometown in Wales, UK due to cancer at the age of 84.
One of the last Welsh missionaries in Mizoram, Rev Roberts, an alumnus of Cambridge University, volunteering as a missionary, set out from Wales to look after the first college in Mizoram, then named Aijal College.
“He was a learned intellectual with zealous passion. During his tenure, the College saw a great deal of progress and development. It was promoted to an ‘Aided College’ and then later, was provincialised by Assam Government,” the PUC said in a release. Mizoram, then Mizo District was under Assam during that time. The college was later named after Pachhunga, a pioneer businessman among Mizos, who donated Rs 50,000, a hefty sum then, to the college.
He served as the principal of Pachhunga University College from January 1961 to September 1967. While higher education began to thrive under his leadership, the Mizoram insurgency that broke out in 1966 forced him to leave.
Rev Roberts was also remembered for his voluntary works in the aftermath of the bombing of Aizawl by Indian Air Force following the rebellion led by Mizo National Front. He was also moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Mizoram.
“As Pachhunga University College is preparing for its Diamond Jubilee, we deeply regret that he is unable to fulfil our invitation to deliver a written speech due to his untimely demise. It is a great loss for the Mizos that we have lost the pioneer of education in Mizoram,” it said.
“We profoundly grieve a forebearer who is responsible for Pachhunga University College to reach its present prestige, Rev Alwyn Roberts and offer our condolences to the family he left behind,” the communiqué said.