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Fourth graduation ceremony: 114 PhDs in 8 years for the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences
Author: Corporate Communications Division
Published: 22/03/2018

The graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU) today (22 March 2018) marked two milestones: The Faculty's Graduate School has awarded more than 100 PhDs, and this in the Faculty's centenary year, which it is commemorating alongside the University as a whole as one of its original four faculties.

At this ceremony, 605 students graduated (a total of 1591 students including those of Dec 2017), while honorary doctorates were also bestowed upon two esteemed thought-leaders Mr Max du Preez and Ms Sandra Prinsloo.


Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of SU, said in a welcoming address: “As we commemorate our Centenary this year, we celebrate great achievements and ground-breaking discoveries the past 100 years. We acknowledge everyone who helped to mould this institution. At the same time, the University has acknowledged its contribution to the injustices of the past and committed itself to redress and development."

“By the end of this week's graduation ceremonies, and following those of December 2017, we will again have awarded a record number of qualifications for a single academic year – 9 032 qualifications in total, including 1 620 master's degrees and 305 PhDs. These are phenomenal numbers! Clearly, Stellenbosch University is making an invaluable contribution as a national asset."

De Villiers said that the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has a wide academic offering. He also pointed to the pioneering work being done by the Faculty's Graduate School for full-time doctoral studies.

“In our Centenary year, the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences in this Faculty is celebrating the milestone of having produced more than 100 PhD graduates (114 to be exact) since 2010, most of whom now work as researchers and academics at higher education institutions across our continent, thereby helping to stem the so-called 'brain drain' from Africa."

As part of SU's centenary commemoration, 13 honorary doctorates will be awarded during the week. At this ceremony, the two recipients were Max du Preez, “a principled and uncompromising journalist and independent commentator", and Sandra Prinsloo, “a legendary actress, director and cultural activist". They delivered brief speeches.

Du Preez said: "It is a special honour to receive this award, especially because it is my alma mater and the University's centenary. It is rare that brave journalists be honoured."

He added that he is proud of the investigative journalists, but is a bit concerned about some Afrikaans newspapers that got stuck in s Mandela euphoria while other present issues are not addressed.

Prinsloo said: "This is the biggest award that I have ever received. Especially coming from an institution that strives for multilingualism and multiculturalism." 

She jokingly added that she can now tell Dr John Kani that she is" “Doctor" Prinsloo. 

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For the Rector's speech, click here.

For more on the Honorary Doctorates click here.