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Two honorary doctorates, many qualifications to be awarded at March graduation
Author: Corporate Communication and Marketing | Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking
Published: 20/03/2024

Stellenbosch University (SU) will confer 3 061 qualifications across 11 ceremonies during its March graduation week. Graduation, which is a highlight on the University's academic calendar, will take place from Monday–Thursday, 25–28 March 2024.

The March graduation brings to close the University's 2023 graduation series, which consists of awarding of qualifications during December 2023 and March 2024.

During this graduation series, the University recorded a total 8 870 qualifications - 5 809 for December 2023 and 3 061 for March 2024. The overall number of graduates increased by 2,4% from 2022 to 2023, with the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science recording its highest number of undergraduate qualifications, increasing from 442 in 2022 to 486 in 2023 (10% increase). The Faculty of Science also recorded its highest number of undergraduate qualifications, with an increase from 497 in 2022 to 571 in 2023 (an increase of 15%).

For this graduation series, the Faculties of AgriSciences, Engineering, Law and Science had the highest number of postgraduate qualifications on record, while the FMHS recorded a record number of 58 doctorates.

The prestigious event will also feature the awarding of two honorary doctorates to extraordinary recipients who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields and made a significant contribution to society.

Honorary doctorates

The recipients of the honorary doctorates include:

Prof Leonard Wantchekon

A professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, Leonard Wantchekon has made substantive contributions to the fields of political economy, development economics and economic history. His research centres on Africa, with a focus on democratisation, clientelism and redistributive politics, the resource curse, and the long-term social impact of historical events.

His innovative work includes research on political institutions and governance, for which he did field experiments with politicians competing in real-time elections to investigate the effects of policy and campaign messaging on voters' behaviour. Other ground-breaking studies related to the long-term economic effects of historical events, such as the Atlantic slave trade, on Africa.

Wantchekon will be awarded the degree Doctor of Commerce (DCom), honoris causa.

Prof James Robinson

Prof James Robinson is a thought leader on economic development and political institutions. He has played a key part in establishing and advancing the field of quantitative economic history in South Africa and is recognised for his commitment to working in the global south and actively collaborating with emerging scholars in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.

Robinson's affiliation with SU dates back several years. He supported the University as it prepared to host the first-ever World Economic History Congress in Africa in 2012. Engagements following this event precipitated the establishment of the Laboratory for the Economics of Africa's Past (LEAP) to elevate African voices in the disciplines of Economic History and Economic Development.

Robinson will be awarded the degree Doctor of Commerce (DCom), honoris causa.

*Click here to read more about the honorary doctorate recipients.

Academic home

SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers commended the graduands and all those who championed them along the way.

De Villiers said a qualification from SU will open doors for graduates. “We have a good reputation locally and globally, aided by the fact that our graduates make a strong impact wherever they go," he said.

“I know the lessons that you have learnt here will stand you in good stead, and I hope you will continue to live by SU's values – equity, compassion, accountability, respect and excellence."

He also encouraged the graduating class to be part of their alma mater's future through its global alumni network.

“Please visit, where you will be able to maintain ties with your University friends, view job offers and find mentors and networking opportunities – all in one place. SU will always be your academic home, and participating in alumni activities will enhance your professional development going forward."​