A cocktail reception was hosted by the Rector and Vice-Chancellor in Sandton on 30 May. Programme Director Dr Raymond Patel, a 1980s alumnus, was pleased that alumni of his generation and many younger alumni were in attendance. Several alumni at the event, including Dr Patel, Prof Pretorius and keynote speaker Lillian Barnard, the MD of Microsoft SA, recalled the personal transformation they had experienced as students.
Prof Pretorius encouraged the attendees to assist the development of UWC as it approached its 60th anniversary milestone in 2020. Prof Pretorius was supported by the dean of Law Professor, Jacques de Ville, and Prof Vuyokazi Nomlomo, the dean of the Education Faculty, who highlighted exciting developments in their faculties. The guests appeared satisfied with the event and continued to enjoy the networking opportunity well into the night.
Prof Pretorius next led an IA visit to Utrecht, in the Netherlands, where a luncheon on 8 June was hosted by longstanding UWC partner, Utrecht University, and attended by several of the UWC alumni population in the Netherlands. The Rector and Vice-chancellor took the opportunity to sign a ‘renewed’ memorandum of understanding with his counterpart and friend Prof Henk Kummeling, Utrecht’s Rector Magnificus. Prof Kummeling served UWC as an Extraordinary Professor in Law for a number of years. The programme director, UWC/UU alumnus Koen de Bont, described his experience as an exchange student at UWC as ‘one of the most valuable influences in his life’.
The guests were intrigued by Prof Pretorius’ presentation on the transformation of the physical institutional landscape and the strides UWC is making in many areas of research. The Rector and Vice-Chancellor invited alumni to join the University’s ‘new dawn’ and the alumni enthusiastically committed to strengthening and expanding UWC’s European alumni network.
On 9 June, the UWC contingent hosted a well-attended lunch in Greenwich, London. Some of the alumni guests were the Rector and Vice-chancellor’s students from the 1980s and 1990s. After hearing them recount the meaningful and lasting impact he had had on them, Prof Pretorius praised the alumni for risking the challenge of emigration to seek a better future for themselves and their families. The alumni were impressed by the recent expansion of UWC’s footprint into the Bellville CBD with the opening of the CHS Building and decided to convene a working committee to coordinate alumni activities and raise UWC’s profile in the UK.
The IA Directorate concluded their Alumni Engagement Tour by hosting a cocktail dinner on 28 June in Kimberley. UWC Law alumna Elistia Evertson acted as programme director. Ms Evertson’s passionate plea to open doors for younger alumni was resoundingly supported by the audience, many of whom work in the legal and educational sectors.
IA Director, Patricia Lawrence, facilitated a hotly debated alumni discussion of issues such as the question of fees versus free education and the audit of South African Law faculties’ curricula. The guests were pleased to hear from Senior Lecturer Dr Abe Hamman, representing the Dean of the Faculty of Law, that UWC Law had received a clean audit.
The 2019 UWC Alumni Engagement Tour met the objectives set out by the IA Directorate to strengthen the bonds between the UWC alumni community and their alma mater and galvanise much-needed support for the institution in the run-up to the 60th anniversary in 2020.