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UWC Autumn Graduation 2016

UWC’s Autumn Graduation 2016 - Enriching the World Graduate By Graduate

“You will always be faced with choices in life. Dream big and work towards turning those dreams into reality. Be a role model to others who will follow in your footsteps.”

That was the advice Prof Tyrone Pretorius, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Western Cape, shared with the graduating class of 2016 at the opening ceremony of the University’s Autumn Graduation on 11 April 2016.

During this graduation week from 11 to 16 April 2016, UWC will celebrate more than 4,295 graduates in 7 Faculties  – including 63 Doctoral Degrees, 246 Masters Degrees, 599 Honours Degrees, 2,716 Undergraduate Degrees, 375 Diplomas and 296 Certificates.

“For us, as an institution, these ceremonies, more than any other occasion, represent the most visible evidence of our successes and achievements,” noted Prof Pretorius.

Just a few of those celebrated achievements singled out:

  • UWC has 13 of the South African Research Chair Initiatives

  • The University recently launched South Africa’s first hydrogen forklift and refuelling stations, in partnership with Implats and the Department of Science and Technology

  • The National Research Foundation awarded the first flagship programme in the country, the Critical Thought in African Humanities project

  • In 2015, UWC was added to the top 800 universities in the world according to the QS World University Ranking, and was ranked 7th in Africa and 5th in South Africa according to the Times Higher Education ranking

“But enough about UWC’s progress - let me turn now to our guests of honour, the graduands,” Prof Pretorius said.

“Your graduation is the culmination of many years of hard work and sacrifice,”

“Education, in its broadest sense, is about

“Cherish the moment and celebrate your achievements - and continue to make us proud as you design the next chapter of your life.”

Celebrating Academic Excellence

A number of extraordinary PhD study topics, not only relevant to the South African context, but also to the rest of Africa, emerged from this year’s crop of top-performing graduates at UWC.

For example:

  • PHD graduate from the Interdisciplinary Center for Sport Science and Development (ICESSD), Solomon Asihel's thesis explored and evaluated the role of sports in the process of reconciliation in post-apartheid South Africa. He looked at sport intervention programmes and explored mechanisms through which sport can serve as a vehicle towards integrated racialised South African youth identities for promoting reconciliation and integration for change.

  • In a first PhD for Child and Family Studies, the Department of Social Work’s Eugene Lee Davids examined the relationship between parenting styles and decision-making styles, and the healthy lifestyle behaviour of adolescents in the rural Western Cape.

  • And in an attempt to address the needs of struggling SMMEs, the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences’ Nasraldin Omer - himself a lecturer based in Sudan - wrote his doctoral thesis on TheModerating effect of microfinance on the financial constraints to SMME growth in South Africa.

“I am confident that, empowered with the knowledge and skills acquired from this University, amongst you are future entrepreneurs, dynamic innovators, managers of corporations, educators of our children, CEOs, caring healthcare professionals and powerful thought leaders,” Prof Pretorius said of the diverse assemblage of successful students. “Only you can define the direction your life will take from this moment.”

UWC will also be honouring several members of society whose life directions led to making profound contributions to their communities, conferring Honorary Doctorates on the following candidates during the course of the week:

  • Fred Robertson – co-founder and Director of Brimstone Investment Corporation Limited

  • Hassen Adams – respected entrepreneur and Executive Chairperson of Grand Parade Investments

  • Mathatha Tsedu – Director of the South African National Editors Forum and manager of Media 24’s Journalism academy

  • Father Alan Michael Lapsley –  South African priest and social justice activist

UWC’s Autumn Graduation ceremony runs from Monday 11 April through to Saturday 16 April - too many amazing graduates to celebrate in just one working week. For a graduation timetable, just click here. To see the grad ceremonies from the comfort of your own home (or phone, laptop, etc.), the ceremonies are live-streamed here.