At its ninth and last ceremony forming part of its December 2016 Graduation Ceremonies, Stellenbosch University (SU) awarded four honorary doctorates – to recognise and reward excellence in a variety of fields and to identify these individuals as role models for the University community.
The degree of Doctor of Engineering (DEng), honoris causa, was bestowed upon the pioneer in computing, satellite technology and engineering, Prof Jan du Plessis; the degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), honoris causa, upon the Namibian politician and "peace broker", Mr Dirk Mudge; the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), honoris causa, on the opinion-maker, mediator and agent of reconciliation, Dr Franklin Sonn and the degree of Doctor of Commerce (DCOM), honoris causa, on the business leader, Dr Johan van Zyl.
Du Plessis was honoured for his sustained, innovative contributions to computing and satellite technology, thereby inspiring many engineering students, paving the way for South Africa's booming technology and respected microsatellite industries, and bringing both Stellenbosch University and the country international acclaim;
Mudge was honoured for his ingenious yet humble leadership in service of his country, extraordinary change management abilities, and his role in facilitating independence for Namibia and reconciliation between white and black Africans as a broker of peace and dealer in hope on the continent;
Sonn was honoured for his role in transforming education and training, his international contribution as image-builder for the country, his efforts as principled businessman and selfless community leader, and his engaged citizenship that helped steer the South African society towards justice for all;
Van Zyl was honoured for his leadership in putting hundreds of thousands of shareholders' investments on a sustainable growth path, for his social responsibility in including the lower-income market in the formal economy, and for his vision in paving the way for the country's first fully fledged black financial services company.
More than 5300 Matie students received their degrees and diplomas from SU this week.
Caption: Prof Jan du Plessis, Dr Johan van Zyl, Dr Dirk Mudge and Dr Franklin Sonn (photo by Stefan Els)
Read more about the recipients here.