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Message from the Vice-Chancellor and Principal: UP’s 110th Birthday
9 February 2018

February 10th 2018 is a very special day on the UP calendar as our university will be 110 years old.

Over the course of more than a century, UP has transformed from a small cohort of 32 students and four professors in Kya Rosa to one of the largest, most dynamic and diverse universities in South Africa.

The University was born from a vision to create a space for education and for new ideas to flourish. Over the course of the last 110 years, as history has waxed and waned in its different phases of political power and social changes, UP has been resilient in its commitment to academic quality. Our characteristic resolve and focussed commitment has seen us transform into a dynamic university community of staff and students who come from a range of diverse backgrounds and cultures showcasing a fair representation of South African and global societies.

More than a quarter of a million alumni have passed through our doors and are on the path to success while many have already become leaders in their fields both locally and internationally. We are confident that all these alumni can proudly credit the tradition of outstanding teaching as a contributor to their success.

Our committed academics and researchers, some of whom are recognised as amongst the best in their fields continue to inspire students to learn and achieve more. UP has grown to become one of the top universities on the continent hence our reputation precedes our graduates, especially because UP is positioned highly on the global rankings for graduate employability.

Our focus is on inclusivity, and equitable access to education. Our effective use of hybrid learning platforms has enabled access and success for an increasing number of students. I would like to thank our academic staff for taking on the responsibility of providing additional course support online to assist students in receiving a quality education and to graduate in the minimum time.

Our commitment to helping our students succeed does not end with graduation. All students have access to our Ready for Work programme that helps to prepare them for the world of work, and our entrepreneurship programme that equips them with the skills to start their own businesses. Since 2017, there have been 2180 enrolments in the Ready for Work programme and 1859 participated in the Entrepreneurship course.

UP’s contribution to society does not only emanate from our research and teaching, but our staff and students’ direct involvement in communities through active volunteerism and curriculum-based, community engagement has a positive impact. This ensures that our students become well-rounded graduates and responsible citizens.

On this occasion, we are reminded of the poet Rabindranath Tagore’s words that “The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence”.

Happy birthday, UP! May we continue to provide quality graduates, innovation, knowledge, and be a positive influence in South Africa and the world, through consistent excellence by making today and every day, matter.

- Author Department of University Relations
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