“A big thank you to everybody who helped take Stellenbosch University (SU) forward in 2019, another year of highlights for us," Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim De Villiers tells staff, students, alumni, donors, partners and friends of the institution in an end-of-year video message.
And then he takes the two-minute challenge set last month by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, trying to beat the clock as he runs through the year's highlights at SU. Watch his video to see if he makes it! (Full text below).
- “We've received 45 000 first-year applications for 2020 … 6 000 more than last year. And the main reason provided by applicants is our academic reputation.
- Our students' module success rate remains above 86%, one of the highest in the country.
- Funds raised for bursaries increased by 82% the past five years. Thank you very much to everyone who opens doors for our students.
- We awarded more than 9 000 qualifications the past academic year, 52% at postgraduate level, including a record 308 doctorates.
- Our African Doctoral Academy turned 10 this year, and we now have 20 agreements for Joint PhDs with top universities around the world.
- We're the only university on our continent invited to join the prestigious Global Alliance of Universities on Climate.
- We're well on our way to becoming Africa's leading research-intensive university, with our new Vision and Strategic Framework, which came into effect this year.
- We've gone up in world rankings again, placing us in the top 1% of universities globally. Our Business School's MBA is now No. 1 in Africa.
- 473 of our academics now have a National Research Foundation rating, an increase of 92% the past decade.
- We've lodged 127 patents the past 10 years, the most in the country.
- Our LaunchLab was named the top business incubator at a university in Africa.
- A Matie student in her second year won a big prize by inventing an edible straw!
- Our electricity consumption has dropped to 2008 levels, water use is down 51%, and we recycle 55% of our waste.
- We launched a School for Data Science and Computational Thinking.
- We established seven new alumni hubs around the world, which brings our total to 22.
- Retired Constitutional Court judge Edwin Cameron has been elected our new Chancellor from next year. He will succeed Dr Johann Rupert, who has provided exceptional service the past decade.
- More than 400 of our staff members and 500 students together devoted 138 000 hours of service to communities the past year.
- We're setting up joint working groups to combat gender-based violence.
- We received a large grant to develop better treatment for children with multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis.
- Campus renewal is going well, with 147 capital projects underway and various initiatives to make everyone feel welcome.
- We're investing substantially in ICT for blended and hybrid learning and teaching.
- Maties Rugby once again won the Varsity Cup and our world-champion Choir will defend their title in Belgium next year."
Having caught his breath, Prof De Villiers concludes: “It's really an honour for me to lead Stellenbosch University, and I'm looking forward to my second term, starting in April. Good luck with your final duties for 2019, wherever you may find yourself in the world. Enjoy the break, and everything of the best for 2020."