Jean Durand, a Mathematical Statistics graduate with focal area Data Science, is the recipient of Stellenbosch University's (SU) coveted Chancellor's Medal for 2022.
The medal is awarded annually to a final-year or postgraduate student who has excelled academically, has contributed to campus life in various ways, and has worked hard at developing co-curricular attributes. Durand received the medal during the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences graduation on Thursday 8 December 2022.
Durand's academic performance in his four years of study at Stellenbosch University has been truly exceptional. He passed every single module of his Bachelor programme with distinction, with no less than four of his undergraduate modules with a mark of 100%.
More than 75% of his undergraduate modules were in the range 90% –99%. For the remainder seven of the 28 modules of his undergraduate studies, he obtained final marks in the range 83%–89%. During his Honours BCom year in Mathematical Statistics, he obtained an average of 90% for his registered modules – a truly exceptional achievement.
In his first year at SU, he was the top student in Applied Mathematics, in his second year he obtained the award of the best Mathematics student, and in 2021 clinched the award for the best Mathematical Statistics final-year student. In addition to these awards, he was also awarded the prestigious Michiel le Roux merit bursary in 2021, while in 2022 he received the Rector's award for excellent academic achievement.
On receiving the award, Durand said it “really is unbelievable". “I am very proud of myself, and this is such a surreal ending to my time at Stellenbosch. I worked very hard for the last couple of years, and it feels fantastic to be rewarded in such a manner," he said.
“I know, none of this would have been possible without the support of my family and friends. I also just want to thank all the lecturers for making this possible. It was such a great experience this year. Coming back to campus and meeting new people, really made for a great final year."
Prof Paul Mostert, chair of the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, who also lectured various of the modules Durand completed said: “Jean Durand's undergraduate and postgraduate academic performances were truly remarkable and exceptional, given the challenging modules in these programmes."
“It was also evident during his studies that he earned the respect of fellow students and his lecturers," commented Mostert on behalf of the department.
Durand has been shortlisted at three UK universities to register for much sought-after Master's programmes in Data Science and/or Artificial Intelligence, namely Edinburgh University, Cambridge University and Imperial College of London.