Stellenbosch University (SU)'s top students who excelled in areas such as academics, leadership and social impact were honoured with Rector's Awards for Excellent Achievement during an online event on Thursday evening (01 October 2020).
In his opening address, Prof Wim de Villiers, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, said that student success has always been an important priority to him since he became Rector in 2015.
“Without students, there is no university, but neither would there be a university without staff. So, we need each other to make the most of the wonderful opportunities that higher education offers us – the chance to broaden our minds and enrich lives, not only our own, but to make a positive impact in society broadly speaking," said De Villiers.
Vice-Rector: Learning and Teaching, Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel, congratulated all the recipients and said that SU was proud to provide development opportunities to students inside and outside the classroom.
“We feel truly honoured to spend time with such excellent young people. They have made a positive difference at Stellenbosch University, demonstrating excellence on diverse terrains of student life and they are likely to make significant contributions in our country and beyond," said Schoonwinkel.
Renaldo Schwarp, who received the Student Representative Council (SRC) Award for Exceptional Alumni from outgoing chair Lewis Mboko, was the guest speaker at the event.
Schwarp is a digital media specialist, radio host and award-winning television presenter and producer, who graduated with a BA degree (Drama and Theatre Studies) from SU in 2012 and thereafter, in 2013, completed his Post Graduate Certificate in Education.
With more than eight years' experience across multiple platforms within the South African media and broadcast landscape, he currently leads digital at Jacaranda FM, one of South Africa's leading commercial radio stations. He was listed as one of Mail and Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans for 2019 and received a Koker Youth Award at the 2019 Afrikaanse Taalraad (ATR) Koker Awards.
In his speech, Schwarp congratulated and encouraged students to be “authentic" and take control of their life stories, so they can get better at creating and sustaining resilience.
“Part of living a happy and wholehearted life has to do with letting yourself (your story) be seen fully. By accepting my story – all of it – and sharing it, I have realised who I am and what my purpose is as a young queer African. The moment I was honest about who I am, what I want to do and where I want to go, the stars aligned."
In 2019 Schwarp was recognised for his persistent and though-provoking work of reshaping LGBTI+ and coloured narratives across South Africa. In 2019, he executive produced and directed SKEEF: Die Dokumentêr, an independently produced and internationally recognised film on the lived experiences of LGBTI+ South Africans.
“One of the biggest lesson that I have learned over the years is that it is okay to say, 'yeah, I did a great job' or 'I think I would be great for that position', and 'yeah I deserve this award', because playing small should have no space in your story. As young people, African youth, the sooner we realise authenticity is the birthplace to connection, the better. Owning your power, your skills, and what you can offer the world is one of the greatest qualities you can give to others," said Schwarp.
The following students were the recipients of the SU Medal for Top Magister Student: Esethu Monakali (Arts and Social Sciences), Sarah Selkirk (Science), Alexandra Rust (AgriScience), Willem Wilken (Economic and Management Sciences), Juletha-Marie Dercksen (Law), Ashwin Thyssen (Theology), Marno du Plessis (Engineering), Dr Johan de Wet (Medicine and Health Sciences) and Mariana Clift (Education).
The other students that received awards for co-curricular achievements were:
Rector's Award for Excellent Contribution to Culture: Amber Dawn Fox-Martin
Rector's Award for Excellent Social Impact: Emer Butler, Afua Duah, Eugene Greyling, Mlungisi Khumalo and Luigia Nicholas
Rector's Award for Excellent Service Provision: Anthony Andrews, Melt Hugo, Danyca Breedt and Taydren van Vuren
Rector's Award for Excellent Leadership: Wamahlubi Ngoma, Ntsako Mtileni, Bradley Frolick, Zimbili Sibiya, Zintle Tunce, Akhona Xotyeni, Louiso du Pisanie, Ella Van Rensburg, Tebogo Mphahlele, Mokgeseng Ramaisa, Azhar Nadkar and Kristan Sharpley
The following students from these faculties also received excellence awards for their academic achievements:
Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences:
- Hanne Mertens
- Jamie Stolk
- Willem Odendaal
- Benjamin Rayner
- Karo Van Zyl
- Cayley Tarr
- Tyron Cameron
- Meshaan Adelhelm
- Bianca Theron
- Kirsten Dennis
- Daniel Claassen
- Michael Steyn
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:
- Dylan Thwaits
- Liesl Lamprecht
- Cameron Williams
- Marguerite Ewert
- Kristen Harding
- Keilidh Clapperton
- David Wolfswinkel
- Tessa Collington-O'Malley
Faculty of Engineering:
- Marco Ribeiro
- Hans Zietsman
- Daniel Van Niekerk
- Tessa Hall
- Aidan Biet
- Chrystal Udall
Faculty of Law:
- Ferdinand Botha and Reshard Kolabhai.
Faculty of AgriSciences:
- Heinrich Geldenhuys
- Juan Sebastian Nieto Lawrence
- Carla Dippenaar
Faculty of Science:
- Dario Trinchero
- Conrad Strydom
- Jacobie Mouton
- Bryce John Foster
- Michael-Phillip Smith
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences:
- Inge Du Toit
- Brandon Franckeiss
- Saskia Louw
- Isabelle Koeul
- Misha Erasmus
- Anja Kruger
Faculty of Education:
Faculty of Theology:
- Karla Smit and Micaela Wahl