UWC December Graduation 2016: New dentists give university something to smile about

UWC December Graduation 2016: New dentists give university something to smile about

It’s been an interesting year for Higher Education in South Africa, with student protests, debate and discussion around fees, decolonising curricula and more – and in the midst of this, the University of the Western Cape (UWC) continues  to produce graduates who go on to enrich and transform society.

On Monday 12 December 2016, UWC’s December Graduation saw 132 graduates across faculties being celebrated in the University’s Great Hall. This included 132 new graduates, mostly from the Dentistry Faculty - 113 Undergraduate degrees, 1 Higher Diploma, 12 Master’s degrees and 6 Doctoral degrees.

This brings the total amount of degrees awarded by the University in 2016 to nearly 5000 - over a thousand of them awarded to postgraduates, and over 100 of those being doctoral degrees.

Prof Tyrone Pretorius, UWC’s Vice-Chancellor and Rector, congratulated the final graduating class of 2016, and urged them to take what they had learned at the University – about their fields, the world and themselves – and use it to make a difference.

“You will always be faced with choices in life. Dream big and work towards turning those dreams into reality,” he said. “You have the ability to shape your life. So I urge you to choose wisely and ethically. Be a role model to others who will follow in your footsteps. Rise above the noise and pressures that will surround you.”

“I hope that UWC has contributed positively to shaping your character, your values, your morals and your decisions,” he concluded. “Continue to make us proud as you design the next chapter of your life.”

UWC’s Chancellor, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, echoed those sentiments, noting that the graduates had already demonstrated discipline and strength of character.

“Your ability to rise above the difficulties you have faced augurs well for your capacity in the future to confront and manage the challenges you will continue to face as you help build our nation,” he said in his message to the new graduates.  “We, in the wider University community – teachers, staff and alumni – thank you for your contributions to the strength and reputation of UWC, and wish you well for the future. Go into the world with confidence and self-knowledge, and use the skills and values you have learned at UWC to make this world a just and peaceful one.”

Sharing Knowledge, Changing The World

One such contribution – both to UWC’s reputation and to the body of medical knowledge in South Africa – is doctoral candidate Tuweyire Okagbare’s thesis, Parents’ perception of psychosocial factors associated with-health comprising behaviors related to oral health among adolescents in South Africa.

The composition of the family unit has undergone considerable change in recent decades due to a variety of socio-economic developments, however, it remains the first learning environment for the child. In Tuweyire’s study, substantive theory provided a holistic approach to the problem of adolescent unhealthy behaviours and went beyond the risk factors approach to comprehensively address the root causes of five adolescent health compromising behaviours: alcohol consumption, smoking, inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption, inadequate oral health care, and inappropriate sugar consumption.  The study recommended that parents should be good role models, and that their educational efforts should begin at the infant stage.

Other doctoral topics tackled such potentially game-changing matters as electronic information storage and retrieval of patient records, the effects of traditional medicinal plants on the reproductive systems of rats, the mapping and identification of disease resistant candidate genes, and more.

For more information about these topics, or other graduation-related matters, please consult the December Graduation Booklet.

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