Family hat-trick: The Ramsdens studied at UP at the same time – and all graduated cum laude!

Posted on February 23, 2023

When Gerald Ramsden completed his LLB degree back in 1985 he never imagined that 35 years later he would become a student again – or that when he did go back to varsity he’d have two of his daughters at his side as fellow students at the University of Pretoria (UP).  

Gerald completed his LLM (Master’s degree in Law) in 2021 and is currently enrolled for a doctoral degree, while his daughters Megan and Brittany completed MBChB and BEd degrees respectively in 2022.

He says he and his daughters opted for UP because of strong recommendations, the institution’s high academic standards, and the quality of student life it offers. “Megan and Brittany wanted to experience residence life, but also did not want to be too far away from home. As we live in Johannesburg, UP was the natural choice to achieve this, particularly since it also offered the particular academic courses that they were interested in.”

Although the family did not often interact directly on campus, Gerald says it was nevertheless nice to know that they were all sharing similar academic experiences at the same time. “I think this motivated me to lead by example and to set the standard for a high work ethic. I am happy that at the end of the day it paid off, as we all graduated with distinction.”

The family’s medical graduate, Megan, says her studies exposed her to the practical aspects of healthcare at a fairly early stage. “This helped me to hone my practical skills as a student, which enabled me to hit the ground running when I started my internship. This is a huge advantage of the approach taken by the UP medical school to its training of medical students. With that solid practical foundation, I have been able to continue to build on my practical skills as a medical intern.”

The intern doctor says her first rotation in the Trauma Unit at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto is thus far the biggest highlight of her career. “I have a particular interest in trauma surgery and would, if possible, like to specialise in it one day.”

Brittany says obtaining her qualification cum laude proved to her that perseverance and hard work allows one to achieve your set goals. “I believe that my role as a graduate is to help to spread a positive message about UP, and to share what tools UP provided me with to cope in the working world. As a prospective student it is useful to get a first-hand account from alumni.”

Gerald believes hard work definitely pays off, and says he could not be more proud of himself and his daughters for achieving their goals. He is also pleased with how well UP equipped them for the workplace.

Brittany adds that aside from getting her degree, her time at UP was one of the most memorable periods of her life so far. “UP pushed me to be the best I can be. It is really a remarkable place. It has left me with lasting memories, knowledge, and life skills.”

- Author Xolani Mathibela

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