University of Cape Town: UCT buckles up for mammoth virtual graduation season

The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) bumper mid‑year graduation season will see 5 811 students graduate virtually during six faculty ceremonies at 18:00 each evening, between 12 and 19 July. These include 117 PhDs. In addition, two honorary doctorates will be conferred and several university awards will be made. Graduands will be virtually capped by UCT’s Chancellor, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, who will also make one posthumous award.

The schedule is as follows:

12 July – Commerce
13 July – Engineering & the Built Environment
14 July – Health Sciences
15 July – Humanities
16 July – Law
19 July – Science.
UCT will award honorary degree to Dr Norbert Ndjeka and Dr Yogapragasen Pillay at the Health Sciences and Humanities ceremonies.

Ndjeka has been the director of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (DR-TB), Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV at the National Department of Health since 2009. His primary accomplishments have been in DR-TB. His exceptional achievements in the treatment of DR-TB have resulted from a unique blend of public service, activism and research.

Over the past 25 years at the National Department of Health, Pillay served under all five health ministers, moving through the ranks from director for systems development to deputy director‑general, responsible for health programmes. He was an outspoken champion in the fight for health equity and improved health delivery for all South Africans.

In addition, UCT alum and qualified chartered accountant Guy Harris will receive the Vice‑Chancellor’s medal, which will be awarded at the Commerce ceremony. Harris is passionate about promoting and supporting entrepreneurship and tackling unemployment through entrepreneurship.

The UCT Book Award, Fellowships and Distinguished Teacher Awardees will also be announced during graduation.

‘Remarkable resilience’

In her tribute to the graduands, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said they had showed “remarkable resilience” in coping with the disruptions brought about by COVID‑19.

“We are inspired by this class of graduates who will forever be an example of strength within the UCT community.”

“The university’s annual graduation is the highlight of our calendar … The past year leading up to graduation has been full of unprecedented challenges due to the COVID‑19 pandemic, which is still very much with us.

“We are very proud of students who completed their study programmes in 2020 and are scheduled to graduate. While these graduation ceremonies will once again be held virtually, our enthusiasm for celebrating our students has never waned. We are inspired by this class of graduates who will forever be an example of strength within the UCT community.”

UCT will stage the ceremonies through online broadcast events, which will be available for viewing on the university’s social media platforms – YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – as well as through the UCT graduation web page and on the UCT News website.

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