Adri van der Merwe and her daughter, Jenni, achieved an important academic milestone together: Adri submitted a doctoral dissertation, while Jenni completed her master’s degree dissertation – both in Communication Management! Supervisors Prof Gustav Puth (for Adri) and Prof Ronel Rensburg (for Jenni), along with Communication Management’s staff, are very proud of this exceptional occurrence.
Adri’s career, which started in teaching in 1983, took the tack of public liaison at UP in 1988 and found footing in various sectors in the local communication landscape thereafter. She held numerous positions on executive management level, including corporate communication management at Telkom, reputation and stakeholder management in the office of the Auditor General and client service management at Ask Afrika.
In 2012/2013 Adri shifted the communication industry to the sideline temporarily to focus on her studies full time. The successful and satisfying result is a completed dissertation, entitled ‘Towards a conceptual model of the relationship between corporate trust and corporate reputation’, which was submitted at the end of February this year.
While mom Adri was working full steam on her doctoral studies, daughter Jenni – who completed her honours degree in Visual Studies at UP during 2008 – was hard at work to complete her master’s degree dissertation ,entitled ‘Building Trust in a Chief Executive Officer Through Positive Media Coverage: A South African Case Study’. That is but one of the many milestones that she reached successfully. She is also photographer, journalist and news writer, reader and producer for radio and television – a career which is based on the experience she obtained as journalist and news reader at TuksFM, amongst others. More recently her first short story, Londoner, was published in the United Kingdom collection Stories of the Smoke.
“We motivate and complement each other,” says Adri. “We share many interests and have always shared a passion for knowledge. Therefore we aspired together to broaden our academic and practical knowledge of our field and the world around us. It is an absolute privilege and honour to share our academic success with each other, especially on this level.”
“I have always admired my mother’s academic drive and exceptional insight into communication management. That was what drove me to venture into the same field with my postgraduate studies,” says Jenni.
Jenni has just been named the best master’s degree student in Communication Management for 2012 and has already been accepted as PhD candidate in Communication Management in 2013. Again she is following in her mother’s footsteps, as she is now focusing on her doctoral studies full time, to complete it as soon as possible.
Adri and Jenni van der Merwe is a mother and daughter team who, individually and together, serves as inspiration and example of what can be achieved if goals are pursued purposefully. Their commitment and hard work will be rewarded at the graduation ceremony in April this year.