Business Management Master's students Anja Hutton and Laura Putter recently became the first ever recipients of the Prof Johan Matthee Postgraduate Scholarships.
The fund was established in 2020 after the late Prof Johan Matthee, a former Dean of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences and long-time chair of the (then) Department of Accounting, bequeathed nearly R12 million to Stellenbosch University for postgraduate studies in economic and management sciences.
The fund's capital income will be made available annually for postgraduate bursaries in two categories: The first is for one or more postgraduate bursaries for studies within the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. The second is for doctoral studies at an overseas university.
Both Hutton and Putter were awarded bursaries for postgraduate study in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. The bursary for doctoral studies at an overseas university was not awarded this year.
The duo was selected according to certain selection criteria which included academic performance and quality of character and leadership, and by a panel consisting of the Faculty Dean, Prof Ingrid Woolard, and Mr Werner Matthee, one of Prof Matthee's sons.
According to Mr Matthee his father was passionate about education, academic excellence and professionalism. "The criteria for the Johan Matthee Scholarships focus on academic excellence and proven leadership qualities. The purpose was to financially support outstanding students who can make a contribution to society.
"We therefore regard it as a great privilege to nominate two excellent candidates, Anja Hutton and Laura Putter, as the very first recipients of the Johan Matthee Scholarships."
Hutton, who is doing her Master's degree in strategy and innovation management with a special focus on how companies can manage tensions when applying multiple strategies, said she is incredibly grateful to have received the bursary and to share this honour with her close friend (Putter).
“I didn't even know that Laura also applied for the bursary; we only realised this year when we both got it. That's so cool!"
She said the bursary comes in very handy since her studies are expensive.
“It is also helping to cover living costs like food, petrol and rent which really allows me to focus on my degree and not stress about paying my studies or about being able to cover my basic needs."
Putter said she was quite surprised when she received the e-mail that her application had been successful. She considered it an absolute blessing.
“I really felt the legacy of Prof Matthee when I was interviewed by Prof Woolard and Mr Werner Matthee. The bursary is about so much more than financial aid. It is about enabling and cultivating an environment where students can contribute and make a difference in their respective fields. I am so grateful to be given this opportunity."
Putter's MCom in Business Management focuses on the impact of board gender diversity on cybersecurity-related disclosures in South Africa and the impact that COVID-19 has had on cybersecurity and the disclosure thereof.
“I am passionate about my research. This bursary makes it possible for me to continue my studies at SU and to continue on my journey of academic discovery and inquiry," she said.
Prof Matthee joined the Department of Accounting (now the School of Accountancy) in 1965, and became the youngest professor at Stellenbosch University in 1972. He made a significant contribution to the development of both the Department and the Faculty and was instrumental in formalising accountancy qualifications. He retired in 2001 after an academic career spanning 36 years at SU. He passed away on 1 July 2018.
- Photo by Anton Jordaan: Anja Hutton (on the left) and Laura Putter are the first recipients of the Prof Johan Matthee Postgraduate Scholarships.
- Photo on the right: The late Prof Johan Matthee