“Rest assured that this body has the utmost respect and appreciation for your leadership," the longest serving member of the Stellenbosch University (SU) Senate, Prof Anton van Niekerk, told the institution's Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers, this afternoon (22 November 2019).
Speaking at the last Senate meeting for 2019, Prof Van Niekerk, Distinguished Professor in Philosophy at SU, thanked the VC for his service to SU the past year, and said the institution was going “from strength to strength". Senate is the University's highest academic body.
In his report to Senate, Prof De Villiers pointed out that SU now has 473 researchers rated by the National Research Foundation (NRF) – 14 of whom have an A-rating, which means they are regarded as world leaders in their particular fields. The number of NRF-researchers at the University increased by 92% from 2009 to 2019.
Prof De Villiers also announced that three SU academics are now among the most influential researchers in the world the past decade: Profs Oonsie Biggs, Linus Opara and Dave Richardson. They have been included in the Web of Science group's Highly Cited Researchers 2019 list, released earlier this week.
Prof Amanda Gouws, holder of the SARChI Gender Policy Chair in SU's Department of Political Science, congratulated Prof De Villiers on his appointment for a second five-year term, starting on 1 April 2020. The SU Council unanimously re-appointed him in September, and Prof Gouws is one of three Senate members on Council.
“We have trust in you, and wish you all of the best for your second term," Prof Gouws told the VC.