Every year the university recognises staff members who have excelled at their work. The Chancellor's Award is awarded to those who have shown sustained excellence and is one of the most prestigious awards at the University. This year two cornerstones of the Department of Economics in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences received this honour: Reta Gelderblom, a senior administrative officer; and Ina Kruger, secretary of the Department.
Reta will be retiring at the end of 2022 after 21 years of service within the Department of Economics. Over the years she has been responsible for administering the Department's undergraduate programme; something she has continued to do efficiently and meticulously for over two decades. Her ability to adapt, meticulous attention to detail and, commitment to her colleagues and students has seen Reta become the backbone of teaching and learning activities within the department; one who will be sorely missed as she embarks on this new chapter in her life.
With 22 years of service under
her belt, Ina has been with the Department of Economics for just one year longer than Reta. And just like her counterpart in the Department, has left an indelible impression on those around her. She has become the go-to person for colleagues and students seeking assistance due to her resourcefulness and friendly demeanour. In addition to performing her secretarial duties, Ina is involved in financial and research administration, an area she chose to work in despite it not being required of her. This is a testament to her dedication to her craft and those around her.
We spoke to both recipients on their incredibly special achievement.
How has receiving this award made you feel?
Reta Gelderblom (RG): I feel very blessed to receive the award and grateful for the opportunity I had to work at a world class university.
Ina Kruger (IK): I did not expect any award and it was therefore a huge surprise! I am grateful to the Lord. I believe that everyone has a responsibility to make a positive difference in people's lives. To do everything as for the Lord to your best ability is my personal motivation.
What has been the highlight of your time at Stellenbosch University?
RG: Every day at work was an enjoyable experience. The interaction with students and lecturers was stimulating, challenging, and enriching. There were many highlights – each time I could encourage and make a difference in the life of a student.
IK: It will sound strange to most, but the highlight for this year was the overall renovation of the offices in the Department from May to July. It was a huge challenge and tiring to "manage" everything but definitely worthwhile, and [I am] pretty much satisfied. When I retire in four years' time, I will leave the Department knowing that I made a difference after all.
What is your vision for your department and the university?
RG: I would like to see Stellenbosch University and my beloved Department of Economics touch every student's heart and mind and be the dynamo and inspiration for a better South Africa for all its residents.
IK: For the Department to give students the best in teaching and learning to reach their potential in order to successfully fulfil their place in society.
For the University to never forget its values and norms and always strive for honesty, fairness, and best quality as a service provider to students and staff.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
IK: I want to thank my colleagues, Professor Andrie Schoombee and Professor Ada Jansen for their support and contribution towards the award.