The Second Brian O’Connell Visiting Fellows Lecture
At the second Brian O’Connell Visiting Lecture, former University of the Western Cape (UWC) Vice-Chancellor, Prof Brian O'Connell said he is honoured this week to have his name associated with this lecture. Referring to change he said, “We must all change and sometimes change is a difficult process. I asked why our students were not passionate about Science? What is missing here? They did not respect knowledge enough, but we need the passion to change this by introducing them to black people in the forefront of knowledge.” Introducing Prof Ledoux, Prof O'Connell said “We are introducing someone who is one such person. “He is of African descent and one who had to search out knowledge, because knowledge wasn't always easily accessible.”
Prof Tyrone Pretorius, Vice-Chancellor of the UWC said the Fellowship programme was specifically established to honour the legacy of Prof O'Connell and to salute his contribution to UWC.
“With this programme we want to celebrate fellow Africans who are doing amazing things in the field of Science and we wish to expose our students and our staff to their success. Apart from the public lecture which is part of the requirement of the Fellowship, it is also an opportunity for Prof Ledoux to network with UWC colleagues to explore possible future research collaboration and further cement academic ties between UWC and the University of Missouri. “We are grateful that he accepted the Fellowship and is willing to share his expertise.”
In his lecture entitled, “The importance of recognizing and taking advantage of opportunities for a successful career” Professor Ledoux (the 2014 recipient of the prestigious American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) Bouffault International Animal Agriculture Award) presented an inspiring overview of his academic career in animal science which began when he entered an agricultural college in the West Indies. He showed that by taking opportunities to further his academic research career as they arose, he and his research team were able to contribute to our understanding of the deleterious effects which fungal mycotoxin contaminated grain has on livestock production. He also explained how his research provided a way to rectify poor dietary phosphate uptake in poultry, with significant advantages for the global poultry industry. He ended his lecture with the following seven pieces of valuable advice for aspiring young scientists:
Always be on the lookout for new opportunities.
Be prepared to seize opportunities.
Engage other researchers at meetings.
Do not be afraid to collaborate with others; in the end it is for the global good.
Do not always walk the beaten path.
Keep an open mind.
Be prepared to be mentored and to mentor others.