University of Pretoria: UP to award 1 600 qualifications at spring graduation ceremony


The University of Pretoria (UP) will award 1 612 degrees and certificates during the 2022 spring graduation ceremonies. These will be held from 6 to 9 September at the University’s Hillcrest Campus.

This is the second in-person graduation since 2020 due to the national lockdown brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of these qualifications, 124 are doctorates, 411 are master’s degrees, 313 are honours degrees and 427 are certificates. The Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences will award 23 PhDs. UP’s business school, the Gordon Institute of Business Science, will award over 100 master’s degrees.

Among the notable graduates this spring graduation is the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies’ Mathias Shunmugam, who will be awarded a doctorate. The 25-year-old is believed to be the youngest PhD holder in the Faculty’s 105-year history.

Previously, Shunmugam was on the Student Representative Council in the sport portfolio. In 2019, he was among a group of students who skipped their graduation ceremony to join the #Walk4Access initiative, a campaign aimed raising funds to assist students with historical debt to complete their degrees.

It will also be a double celebration at the Mayson household when twin brothers Liam and Connor, from the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology, will be awarded Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degrees.

Meanwhile, UPOnline has two graduation ceremonies – the first for Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health recipients and the second ceremony for the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management cohort.

UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe said the average higher education level among the 38 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries is just over 39%. In South Africa, 7% of the population has a tertiary education and 6% have a university degree, specifically. That works out at around 1.5 million people out of 60 million.

“You can see why, with the capping of every new graduate, the self-esteem of our entire society rises just a little bit more,” Prof Kupe said.

“Your personal achievement means a great deal to all of us. It is cause for celebration – all the more so because we are here together, in person, after more than two years of being kept apart and cooped up by the COVID- 19 pandemic.

“The qualifications you are leaving with have the potential to open many doors. Some graduates will take up formal employment. Others will choose to knock bravely and boldly on the door to entrepreneurship. Still, others will be continuing your studies, preferably with the University of Pretoria, or taking a gap year, perhaps to travel or to volunteer for a cause close to your heart or to gain experience.”

He told graduates that UP will always be their home.

“There are many alumni services and opportunities to which you have access, from opportunities to collaborate in research or be part of national, African and global conversations, to opportunities to advance your career. If you are at a crossroads over your future, now would be a good time to make use of those services.”

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