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Two honorary degrees, many qualifications to be awarded at March 2021 hybrid graduation
Author: Corporate Communication and Marketing Division
Published: 25/03/2021

​Stellenbosch University (SU) will award 3 350 qualifications during its March 2021 hybrid graduation ceremonies, which is a remarkable feat given the unprecedented challenges students had to face last year.

In addition to the qualifications, the University will also award two honorary doctorates. The recipients of honorary degrees are Ms Louisa Mojela, a co-founder and long-time group chief executive officer of the Women Investment Portfolio Holdings (WIPHOLD); and Prof Batmanathan Dayanand (Daya) Reddy, a globally renowned mathematician.

As result of the COVID-19 pandemic, SU will host a hybrid graduation week, which will include nine small physical (face-to-face) ceremonies for doctoral graduands, honorary doctorates and the Chancellor's Awards recipients at the SU Conservatoire of Music (Konservatorium), as well as virtual faculty-specific graduation ceremonies. Graduation ceremonies will take place from 29 March to 1 April 2021.

Honorary degrees

Ms Louisa Mojela will receive the degree Doctor of Commerce, honoris causa, in recognition of her visionary leadership in establishing platforms to empower women on the African continent; for her innovative contribution to the socio-economic development of South Africa; and for her remarkable achievements in the business sector.

Prof Batmanathan Dayanand Reddy will receive the degree Doctor of Science, honoris causa, in recognition of his research leadership and scientific breakthroughs; for his exceptional contribution in strengthening and advancing science at a national and international level; and for his generosity in sharing his knowledge and expertise to develop students in the field of computational and applied mechanics.


For the 2020 academic year, SU conferred a total of 9 079 qualifications, which includes the 3 350 qualifications that will be conferred during the March 2021 graduation. Of these 3 350​ qualifications, 133 are doctoral qualifications.

Rector and Vice-Chancellor of SU, Prof Wim de Villiers, commended the graduating class for their achievements during a year that “will not be easily forgotten" and will rightly be remembered as an extremely challenging time.

“The comprehensive plans our University had at the start of the year were swiftly scaled down to only two overall objectives: ensuring that our students could complete their academic year and that our institution remained sustainable for future intakes. I believe we have succeeded in this," said De Villiers.

“When face-to-face tuition was suspended on campuses nationwide in March 2020, we rapidly switched to online emergency remote teaching, learning and assessment. While there were some glitches, most were soon resolved. This was made possible by the hard work and sacrifices of our staff (both academic and support services) and students, to whom we are deeply grateful."​

More about the honorary degree recipients:

Ms Louisa Mojela is a well-known figure in corporate South Africa having been a co-founder and long-time group chief executive officer of the Women Investment Portfolio Holdings (WIPHOLD), a company dedicated to the empowerment of women and the creation of development opportunities.

Under her leadership, WIPHOLD grew to be the country's premier black women-owned and managed investment company with billions invested across a wide array of industries. More than 200 000 black women are beneficiaries who hold a direct share of 33,6% in the holding company via WIPHOLD Investment Trust and WIPHOLD NGO Trust.

Mojela graduated with a Bachelors in Commerce from the National University of Lesotho, and successfully completed the Executive Leadership Programme at Wharton Business School in Pennsylvania in the United States.

She is a well-known figure in corporate South Africa, and has served on the boards of companies such as Distell, Sun International, Sasol Mining and Life Healthcare Group Holding. She has received numerous awards for her business leadership and entrepreneurial spirit. In May 2009 she received the Inaugural African Business Leadership Award in Dakar, initiated by the African Development Bank, and in 2010 she won the Africa Economic Builders Entrepreneur of the Year award in Abidjan, the Ivory Coast.


Prof Batmanathan Dayanand (Daya) Reddy is a globally renowned mathematician, who has a notable record of sustained activity in strengthening the scientific enterprise.

An A-rated National Research Foundation scientist, Prof Reddy's journey into science began back in 1973, when he completed a BSc in Civil Engineering at the University of Cape Town (UCT), followed by a PhD at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

Prof Reddy has made major contributions to the analysis of problems in solid mechanics, most notably plasticity, and to the development and analysis of mixed and related finite element methods.  Beyond these major areas of expertise, he has also made significant contributions to aspects of biomedical mechanics. 

He is a founding member of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, chaired a steering group of academics who established the South African Centre for High Performance Computing, and is a founding fellow of the Academy of Engineering and Technology of the Developing World.

He served a seven-year term as Dean of the Faculty of Science at UCT, where he also held the South African Research Chair in Computational Mechanics in the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics. He retired from UCT at the end of the end 2020.

*Ms Mojela's honorary doctorate will be awarded at 09:00 on Tuesday, 30 March 2021. Prof Reddy's honorary doctorate will be awarded at 09:00 on  Thursday, 1 April 2021.​