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20 September 2013
UWC Spring Graduation 2013

UWC Celebrates 51 Years of Graduation

Forty-four doctoral degrees were conferred at the University of the Western Cape's (UWC) spring graduation ceremonies from 18 to 20 September 2013.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Ramesh Bharuthram, and Chancellor Thabo Makgoba, conferred degrees and diplomas on 833 students during the graduation ceremonies, inclusive of 109 Master’s degrees and 44 Doctoral degrees. Added to the 3 136 students who graduated in the March graduation ceremonies, UWC has graduated an amazing 3 969 students (including 347 Master’s and 81 Doctoral graduates). Not only were there more PhDs conferred in a single night than UWC has seen before (28 for the Faculty of Natural Sciences), but the 2013 PhD graduate total of 77 surpasses the record set in 2012.

Master’s and Doctoral degrees were awarded for a number of interesting research developments – seeking solutions for cancer, looking at how tea can affect reproduction, studying galaxy evolution through supercomputer simulations, analysing the challenges associated with parental involvement in the homework assignments of learners at a historically disadvantaged school, and much, much more.

Four special Lifelong Learning Awards were also presented during spring graduation. The Senior Lifelong Learning Award went to Soraya Beukes (Faculty of Law – LLM), while the Alternative Access Award went to Bernice Thomas (Faculty of Community and Health Sciences – Social Work). The Part-Time Award went to Bronwyn Arries (Faculty of Law – LLM), and the Group Award to Dr Jim Lees from the UWC HIV/AIDS Programme.

Two UWC staff members were also honoured at the ceremonies: Prof Leslie Petrik and Prof Vivienne Bozalek were presented with the Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Researcher Award for their outstanding contributions in their respective fields, recognised and celebrated by national and international peers.

Prof Michael Davies-Coleman, Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, presented Prof Petrik with the VC’s Distinguished Researcher Award: Medical and Natural Sciences. He noted that since earning a PhD in chemistry at UWC in 2008, Prof Petrik has developed the Environmental Nanosciences Group into a formidable force which has graduated six PhD and 20 Master’s students, and has also conducted ground-breaking work in acid mine drainage, with six patents secured, and five book chapters and many papers authored and co-authored in five short years.

Prof Duncan Brown, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, bestowed the VC’s Distinguished Researcher Award: Humanities and Social Sciences, on Prof Vivienne Bozalek. As a member of the Community and Health Sciences Faculty's Department of Physiotherapy, and also as UWC's Director of Teaching and Learning, Prof Bozalek has published over 50 journal articles over the past five years, while also supervising 11 Master’s students and serving on the editorial board of five journals. She has contributed significantly to our understanding of the political ethics of care, and has championed innovative pedagogical practices at UWC.

UWC is proud of all its graduates, and wishes them all the best in their further endeavours. The university has certainly come a long way from its first graduation ceremony 50 years ago in 1963, when only 17 students graduated. Over the years, UWC graduates have had an amazing impact on South Africa and the world. Here's to the next 50 years!