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Mellon Mays celebratory event

New Mellon Mays students welcomed at UWC

The international Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Programme (MMUF) has taken an additional five University of the Western Cape (UWC) students under their wing this year this after a lengthy process of analysis to identify the top students in natural science, social science and humanities.

The new Mellon Mays fellows were welcomed at an event at UWC’s Library Auditorium, where UWC lecturers, friends and family also celebrated the older fellows who have continued to pursue careers as academics.

The Mellon Mays programme identifies promising students at an early stage of their academic careers, providing financial support, mentoring and academic activities that can help them become established scholars in their chosen fields.

Talking to attendees at the new fellow’s celebratory event, former UWC Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Ramesh Bharuthram explored the success of the programme in promoting postgraduate education.

The scholarship starts at the end of the third year, aiming to encourage students to pursue studies. At UWC, the MMUFP has achieved admirable results all fellows from previous cohorts have proceeded to honours level of study, and many have moved further to pursue master's degrees and have been awarded bursaries and numerous other academic awards along the way.

Dr Vanessa Brown, who runs the programme at the University, said UWC is privileged to be one of the 42 Institutions of higher learning globally to be included in this programme.

When the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Programme extended its hand to South Africa, approaching institutions of higher learning to take part, the persistence of former Rector and Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian O’Connell ensured that UWC was invited to join the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Programme in 2009.

Dr Brown spoke about a trip the new fellows will soon take to the United States, where they will learn even more and mingle with fellows from around the world at the UNCF/ Mellon Summer Institute.

UWC’s Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius, said the University as a community has every reason to rejoice.

“It feels good to know that so many successful students are sitting in this room,” he said.

“I am blessed to be associated with the University of  the Western Cape at this time in my life.

“An educated society is a prosperous society,” he said, noting that higher education is a pillar of economic growth not just for our communities, but for South Africa as a whole.

“I hope all those who are part of this programme will aspire to be the next generation of academics. Congratulations to all the recent graduates sitting here with us tonight,” he concluded.