SU mourns death of alumnus, former US ambassador to South Africa

James A. Joseph
James A. Joseph(Southern University)
Published: Feb. 19, 2023 at 9:51 AM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Southern University is mourning the loss of alumnus and former U.S. ambassador to South Africa James A. Joseph.

According to university officials, Joseph died on Friday, Feb. 17, at the age of 88.

“Ambassador Joseph’s life of service has been a gift to this nation and the world,” said Dennis J. Shields, president-chancellor of the Southern University System. “His commitment and contributions to the academy and leadership development were immeasurable.”

Southern University said Joseph was appointed by former President Bill Clinton to serve as ambassador to South Africa and would go on to serve in the role from 1996 to 2000. Southern University said Joseph even became the first ambassador to present credentials to South African President Nelson Mandela.

Joseph graduated from Southern University and A&M College in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He furthered his education by earning a divinity degree from Yale University.

According to Southern University, Joseph also served as under secretary for the U.S. Department of the Interior and was appointed as chairman of the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation following Hurricane Katrina.

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