Dean’s Merit Awards 2018

Posted on November 29, 2018

On 31 October, the Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religion, Prof Jerry Pillay, honoured several of his 2018 graduates during the Dean’s Merit Awards Ceremony 2018, held in the Merensky Library auditorium. Scores of former students managed to hit the single target set for this award, an aggregate average of 75% or higher, distinguishing themselves as scholars of exceptional ability and potential.

Prof Ernest van Eck, Head of the Teaching and Learning committee, was also present to confirm the conferring of the certificates and medals, one of each handed over to Ms Camille Castelyn, who was willing to share more about her history with the Faculty:

“I have been living in Pretoria all my life, with both my parents running their own businesses from home. They have played a pivotal role in my successes, since they have always supported me no matter what I choose to do. They have also always encouraged me to have a "go-getter" type of attitude to life and to believe that God will provide. They also taught me that there is no substitute for hard work and to lead by serving others. I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Pretoria in 2015, after which I did my master’s degree in genetics and Christian ethics with Prof Willem Fourie as my supervisor. Throughout my studies I have been actively involved in church activities and outreaches, specifically working with disabled people and youth. I also served on the House Committee of House Theology with the portfolio of marketing and am a Golden Key International Honour Society member. Currently I am an NRF intern, where Dr Tanya van Wyk is mentoring me.”

Sydney Gololo, currently a student of Theology and Religion, sat down with Camille and discussed her experiences during the Merit Awards event.

Sydney: What was your secret to academic success, such that you graduated cum laude?

Camille: It was a combination of hard work and discipline, saying no to Friday night parties, but also support from my parents, who alleviated extra activities like cooking and other home chores. Staying close to the university also played a big role. The motivation that came from the Faculty was immense and lead me to do my best.

Sydney: What was your experience of the awards ceremony itself?

Camille: It was an amazing experience, and an ultimate grace from God. The awards ceremony was a well organised event with great hospitality. It was also good to catch up with my fellow class mates, who are mostly already working at churches. I think it is really important for students to receive recognition for their hard work and being on the Dean's list is no small achievement!

Sydney: Now that you have finished your degree, what are the next steps for you?

Camille: I am aspiring to be a Christian Ethicist, not at the University of Pretoria per se. Then I want to do my PHD in public health, at the Faculty of Health Sciences.

The evening included photos, a few speeches, lots of smiles and refreshments. In pursuit of academic excellence, cutting-edge research and community engagement, the Dean of the Faculty believes recognising such achievements through the Merit Awards ceremony is essential, as it provides inspiration for future theological graduates and ministry leaders.

- Author Sydney Gololo

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