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SU announces latest honorary doctorate recipients
Author: Corporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking - Sandra Mulder
Published: 10/11/2021

Stellenbosch University (SU) is proud to announce the names of the six distinguished individuals who will receive honorary doctorates in recognition of their outstanding and valuable contributions in their respective fields.

Their steadfast commitment to changing people's lives for the better resonates strongly with SU's vision of not only promoting excellence, inclusion and innovation, but also advancing social engag​ement and reciprocal knowledge sharing for the benefit of society.

The recipients are:

  • Judge Frederick Daniël Jacobus (Fritz) Brand will receive the degree Doctor of Laws (LLD) honoris causa for his outstanding contributions to the field of law. This SU alumnus is being acknowledged for his highly influential judgments as justice of the high court and Supreme Court of Appeal, as well as his involvement in legal scholarship and training of a new generation of judges, both locally and globally.

  • The engineer and inspirational business leader Mr Andries Carel (Andy) Calitz will receive the degree Doctor of Engineering (DEng) honoris causa. Also an SU alumnus, he plays a prominent role in the international energy supply sector. Serving as the secretary general of the International Gas Union since August 2021, he continues to drive political, technical and economic progress in the gas industry globally.

  • South African writer, poet and activist Ms Diana Ferrus will be awarded the degree Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) honoris causa. Ferrus' poetry is recognised and revered both locally and internationally for its impact on politics, and for giving a voice to the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. Since she started writing at the age of 14, her personal experiences and the political, historical and social issues of the communities where she has lived and worked have featured as themes in her poetry.

  • Dr Patrice Matchaba will receive the degree Doctor of Science (DSc) honoris causa for his outstanding contributions to pharmaceutical and clinical science, and his leadership role in addressing disparities in health care and research capacity globally. He currently serves as president of the Novartis US Foundation in the United States, drawing on his 20 years' experience as a physician involved in global drug development and public health.

  • SU alumna Ms Nicky Newton-King will receive the degree Doctor of Laws (LLD) honoris causa for her contribution in developing South African financial law and regulation, and strengthening the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) as a foundational pillar of South Africa's economy, through her leadership for more than 23 years. In 2012, she became the first woman chief executive officer of the JSE in its 125-year history. As a corporate finance and securities regulation lawyer, she has made an enduring contribution to the fields of law and commerce.

  • Prof Vikram Patel, a psychiatrist and global mental health expert, will be awarded the degree Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) honoris causa. He is a leading figure in the global mental health movement, and a key contributor to the promotion of mental health, prevention of mental disorders and advancement of child development in low and middle-income countries. He is considered one of the most influential people in the world.

SU's honorary doctorates are a way of acknowledging the remarkable work of individuals who are regarded as role models and an inspiration to students, staff members and graduates of the University. 

The honorary doctorates will be conferred at the 2022 graduation ceremonies, except for Newton-King and Brand, who will receive theirs at the December 2021 graduation.

December 2021 graduation

In addition, four other individuals will receive their honorary doctorates along with Newton-King and Brand at the December 2021 graduation. These recipients have been announced earlier.

The recipients include:

  • Dr Marlene le Roux will be awarded the degree Doctor of Education (DEd) honoris causa for her work in empowering and supporting disadvantaged groups in finding fulfilling careers in the arts. Her outreach projects range from theatre appreciation workshops to taking complete productions, along with workshops and educational theatre, to rural areas and communities where arts and cultural opportunities are limited.

  • Prof Marlene van Niekerk will receive the degree Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) honoris causa for her immense impact on the Afrikaans literature and literary landscape not only through her own writings, but also through educating well-known authors and winners of literary awards. She is acknowledged for her outstanding intellectual contribution to the field of literary arts and culture through poetry, literature and philosophical works.

  • The degree Doctor of Education (DEd) honoris causa will be conferred on Prof John David Volmink for making an outstanding contribution to education and curriculum reform, the advancement of mathematics education and the quality assurance of schooling in post-apartheid South Africa.

  • The degree Doctor of Commerce (DCom) honoris causa will be awarded to Prof Leonard Wantchekon for advancing research in the fields of political economy, economic history and development economics, as well as developing sustainable platforms that improvement the education of youth in Africa.

Two other honorary doctorates that were announced in 2019 and 2020 will be awarded in 2022:

  • Prof Agnes Binagwaho is a Rwandan paediatrician who has made remarkable contributions to improving the health and well-being of people in Africa. A former Minister of Health in Rwanda, Binagwaho has been at the forefront of the battle against HIV/AIDS and HPV , the human papilloma virus that causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer. She will receive the degree Doctor of Science (DSc) honoris causa.
  • Dr Uma Lele, born in Maharashtra, India, is being honoured with the degree Doctor of Science (DSc) honoris causa for her leadership in the theory and practice of rural development globally. In a career that has spanned almost five decades, her body of work has been characterised by efforts to influence public policy through rigorous empirical research.