Anderson Mazoka, who graduated from the College in 1969 with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, died last month in a South African hospital. He was 63.
Mazoka garnered worldwide attention in 2001 when he was president of the United Party for National Development, Zambia's chief opposition party.
That December, Mazoka narrowly lost to President Levy Mwanawasa of the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) party, collecting 27 percent of the vote. He unsuccessfully sought to have the results overturned by the country's Supreme Court, alleging corruption and ballot-stuffing.
The South African businessman was expected to challenge Mwanawasa again later this year when his term was up.
Mazoka died of kidney complications May 23 after he had been admitted to a hospital for a routine medical checkup, according to newspaper reports in Lusaka. He had been on dialysis following kidney failure caused by suspected poisoning, according to the reports.
While at Union, Mazoka designed and built a wind tunnel in just 10 weeks for his senior thesis. The project attracted media attention because of the size of the tunnel, which filled a large room in the basement of Science and Engineering. The tunnel was used for more than three decades by students and faculty.
In a 2002 interview, Mazoka's faculty advisor, Dick Shanebrook, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering, remembered his former student as “personable, friendly and very persistent.''