Stellenbosch University
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Records shattered at this week's SU graduation ceremonies
Author: Corporate Communication / Elsabe Barlow
Published: 09/12/2019

​From today until Friday, a record number of 5 853 Stellenbosch University (SU) students will see all the many hours, days, months and years of hard work come to fruition as they receive their qualifications at SU's nine December 2019 graduation ceremonies – which is also a record in itself.

The SU's graduation week kicked off this morning (Monday, 9 December 2019) with 554 students from the Faculty of Engineering and 69 from the Faculty of Theology receiving their degrees and postgraduate diplomas at the first December 2019 graduation ceremony.

Among the Engineering graduates were a young couple, Wouter and Louzanne Bam, who both received their PhDs in Industrial Engineering. Wouter also received a PhD in Economics. Both his degrees are joint degrees between SU and KU Leuven in Belgium. The couple was among the 30 Engineering and seven Theology doctorates conferred at this graduation ceremony.

A total of 483 Bachelor's and 84 Master's degrees and 19 postgraduate diplomas were also awarded this morning.

In his welcoming speech, Prof Wim de Villiers, SU's Rector and Vice-Chancellor, mentioned that 2019 had been a milestone year for both faculties. “Theological training in Stellenbosch started 160 years ago, and Engineering celebrated their 75th birthday this year – and they have certainly grown with leaps and bounds. This year, our Faculty of Theology achieved the number one spot in Africa on the QS World University Rankings by Subject. And over at Engineering, all six of their programmes were accredited by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA)," De Villiers said.

He said the Faculty of Theology delivered graduates who make a difference in a world full of inequality, poverty, crime, violence and corruption. “The Faculty of Theology is one of our most diverse, and its graduates typically rise to leadership positions in society, driving social change and development for a better country, continent and world."

According to De Villiers, engineers were prime examples of so-called “public-good professionals" – graduates who have a positive impact on society through the work they do. “We know we face huge developmental challenges as a country, and therefore this role of the Faculty – to deliver engineers who can build things and make it work, who can come up with innovative solutions to complex problems – will remain crucial," De Villiers said at the ceremony.

Tonight sees the first group of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences – SU's largest faculty – graduating. At this ceremony, a total of 798 degrees will be awarded, which will include 488 BCom (including BCom Law), 273 BCom Honours, 32 MCom and five PhD degrees.

Among the BCom graduands will be the first group of 22 students from the BCom (International Business) class receiving their degrees. This four-year programme, launched in 2016, was a first of its kind in South Africa and a pioneer in business education at undergraduate level in the country.

The schedule of the December graduation ceremonies is as follow:

  • Monday, 9 December 2019 (10:00): Faculties of Theology and Engineering
  • Monday, 9 December 2019 (17:30): Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences (Group A)
  • Tuesday, 10 December 2019 (10:00): Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (All programmes excluding PG Diplomas)
  • Tuesday, 10 December 2019 (17:30): Faculties of Economic and Management Sciences (Group B)
    and Medicine and Health Sciences (only PG Diplomas)
  • Wednesday, 11 December 2019 (10:00): Faculty of Science
  • Wednesday, 11 December 2019 (17:30): Faculties of Education and Military Science
  • Thursday, 12 December 2019 (10:00): Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences (Group A), AgriSciences
    and Law (excluding BA Law, BCom Law and BAccLLB)
  • Thursday, 12 December 2019 (17:30): Faculties Economic and Management Sciences (Group C)
  • Friday, 13 December 2019 (10:00): Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (Group B)

Streaming: All the graduation ceremonies can be followed live on the internet at