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UCT to cap 106 PhD graduates in massive ceremony

FOLLOWING two years of virtual graduation due to Covid-19, the University of Cape Town (UCT) will host ceremonies in person this month.

Approximately 106 PhD graduates will be celebrated, while seven distinguished individuals will be awarded honorary doctorates.

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The honorary doctorates will be awarded to Dr Rob Adam, doctor of science; Sir Franklin Berman QC, doctor of laws; Geoffrey Budlender SC, doctor of laws; Trevor Jones, doctor of music; Professor Khaya Mfenyana, doctor of science in medicine; Kaizer Motaung, doctor of social science; and, Mzolisi ka Toni, doctor of social science.

The in-person graduation will take place on July 22 at the Sarah Baartman Hall on Upper Campus. The ceremonies are scheduled for 10am and 2pm.

UCT vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said that in the past two years, the university’s graduation ceremonies have had to be paused in the traditional physical pre-Covid-19 manner that the world had become accustomed to.

But, they were now in a position to host physical graduation ceremonies, starting with the upcoming PhD graduation ceremonies.

“Graduation is always a time of jubilation, where we not only rejoice over and recognise the hard work and tenacity of our graduates, but we also congratulate our exceptional academics, support staff and supportive families – who all play a pivotal role behind the scenes in the success of the graduating cohort.

“Post-graduate education and research are among the cornerstones of and critical to UCT’s long-term vision of being the leading research-intensive university in South Africa and on the continent, which will place us among the best globally,” said Phakeng.

She said they were extremely proud of the 106 PhD graduates, who have made outstanding scholarly contributions to prove the value of African-based research and to contribute to the national and global knowledge bank.

“Our doctoral students are proof of UCT’s mission to be the best on the continent through research that makes a meaningful difference in people’s lives.”

In addition to the PhD graduation, Emeritus Professor Marian Jacobs will receive the 2022 Vice‑Chancellor’s Medal at the Health Sciences ceremony. The award is given to alumni who have made a distinguished contribution to society.

During the same ceremony, Professor Leslie London will be honoured with the 2021 Social Responsiveness Award for his unwavering commitment and contribution to promoting social justice in healthcare.

The 2021 UCT Book Award will be handed to Distinguished Professor Philippe-Joseph Salazar during the Law ceremony. This award recognises outstanding and/or influential books written by UCT staff members.

The ceremonies will also be live-streamed on the UCT News website and the university’s social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter.

Phakeng also indicated that with the Covid-19 regulations having been repealed recently, UCT will in due course make an announcement around the belated physical celebration moment for the 2020 and 2021 graduates.

There have already been official virtual graduation ceremonies due to the restrictions imposed by the lockdown that was in place then.