VC’s Post: Professor Adam Habib on graduations and other developments

Dear Colleagues and Students

I trust that you have all returned safely and that you are well rested after the Easter break.

We are already deep into the second term of 2017 and in this post I would like to reflect on our recent graduation season and several other developments that have surfaced in recent weeks.

One of the most gratifying moments of serving as a vice-chancellor is to preside over graduation ceremonies, which signify the success of students, and acknowledge their efforts over cumulative years, with the support of their families, academics, donors and others.

In the first graduation season for 2017, more than 5 000 students were capped, all of whom I have no doubt will make an impact on society. Wits University also awarded honorary doctorates to several luminaries including Advocate Thuli MadonselaAdrian Gore and Patrice Motsepe. Gold medals were also awarded to Section 27 and the Legal Resources Centre. My thoughts on graduations are reflected in the video below.

[WATCH] Professor Adam Habib on 2017 graduations

My latest report to Council on developments at the University can be accessed via the following link.

[READ] Vice-Chancellor’s Report (April 2017)

Wits University adopted an accelerated transformation plan last year, which is currently being implemented. While strides are being made in all eight major areas outlined in the plan, it is useful to note that over the last 18 months, 28 appointments have been made to diversify the academy and 37 enabling grants totalling R5.8 million have been awarded to academics across the five faculties. Our transformation agenda is not complete by any means, but it is well on track. As we transform institutionally, so too are we able to collectively transform society.

[READ] Wits University can transform itself and society

Our researchers are excelling with research output at an all-time high. Research output at Wits has increased by a staggering 43% over the last few years. Some of our top researchers were honoured at an awards ceremony last week. The inaugural conference of the African Research Universities Alliance was held in Ghana in early April, which will ultimately lead to research in Africa rising.

Please join me in congratulating Glenda Gray, Associate Professor in the School of Clinical Medicine, on making the TIME 2017 list of the top 100 most influential people in the world, as well as Professor Achille Mbembe who was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Finally, the Center for World University Rankings, which ranks Wits in first place on the continent also placed the University in two categories in the top 10 Subject Rankings globally.

There are many other success stories about staff, students and alumni at Wits University which you can read about here.

I wish all our graduates well as they start a new phase in their lives, where they will no doubt make an impact and in so doing inspire our current talented students to achieve greatness.

I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to each and every staff member for making our University truly relevant and world-class. Wits University has the potential to transform lives and society, but this can only be achieved through our cooperative efforts.

Thank you

Professor Adam Habib
Vice-Chancellor and Principal  
University of the Witwatersrand