Jamie and Rosemary Cripwell, a couple from Stellenbosch, toiled together for a few years and now they're obtaining their doctorates in the same week at Stellenbosch University (SU)'s March 2017 graduation. Jamie received his doctorate in Chemical Engineering on Wednesday morning (15 March) at SU's second graduation ceremony while Rosemary will be awarded her PhD in Microbiology on Thursday (16 March).
At the same ceremony, degrees were also awarded to students in the Faculties of Theology and Engineering. Students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences received their degrees and diplomas at the third graduation ceremony on Wednesday evening.
Jamie and Rosemary's PhDs are among the 140 new doctorates that will be awarded this week and, together with those awarded in December, it will bring the number of doctorates for the 2016 academic year to 278 (in comparison with 2015's 267).
"It is great that we are receiving our doctorates in the same week. This was also one of the reasons we decided to complete them at the same time. We helped and mutually inspired each other," says Jamie.
He speaks highly of his wife Rosemary who he says encouraged him to do his doctorate.
"Initially a PhD wasn't part of my plans, but Rosemary inspired me to start."
Originally from Johannesburg, the couple met at the University of the Witwatersrand. They also did their Master's degrees together.
Jamie will do post-doctoral research at SU and says he plans to publish two articles on his PhD in addition to the two that have already been published.
"It was not easy and was frustrating at times," Rosemary admits, "but we supported each other all the time."
Rosemary says it was good to tackle their PhD-studies in this three-year goal they have set out for it together.
"We inspired each other and exchanged ideas all the time. It was good to do this with someone who knows me as a student and as a person."
On Wednesday, Master's degrees in Music were awarded to mother and son Louna and Pieter-Adriaan Stofberg. Louna, who graduated cum laude, is an organist, whilst Pieter-Adriaan is a cellist.
"It was wonderful and extremely special to do our masters together," says Louna. "We encouraged each other and kept one another going when things got difficult."
"There were many early mornings of getting up and working together on our studies," Pieter-Adriaan adds. "There was a lot of bonding time and cups of coffee!"
"I did this simply for myself and my own enrichment, I've already taught a lot in my life and was a music teacher for years, I'm now an organist in Hermanus," says Louna. Pieter-Adriaan, a cello teacher at various schools, was motivated to do the master's at SU because of cellist and lecturer Anzél Gerber, who acted as his supervisor.
For Louna's chamber music exam last year, mother and son performed the 'Rheinberger Suite' together, a piece of music that features the rare combination of organ, cello and the violin. Pieter-Adriaan fiancée was the violinist. They will perform the piece again at the FynArts festival in Hermanus in June this year.
"We had so much support from our family," Pieter-Adriaan concluded. "It is really impossible to do this without a backup system in place and people who tell you to keep going."
Also among the graduates was Ashwin Phillips who obtained his BA Honours degree in Social Anthropology. Ashwin, a former SciMathUS-student, is currently doing a Master's degree in Sociology at SU. He was part of a group of former SciMathUS and Hope@Maties students who graduated on Wednesday.
SciMathUS and Hope@Maties are two university preparation programmes being run by SUNCEP, the Stellenbosch University Centre for Pedagogy. These programmes aim to afford learners access to higher education.
For the 2016 academic year, 106 students who have come through these programmes graduated.
- Main photo: Jamie and Rosemary Cripwell
- Photo 1: Louna and Pieter-Adriaan Stofberg
- Photo 2: Ashwin Phillips
- Photographer: Stefan Els