Welcome Day, one of the most important days on the University's calendar, took place at the University of Pretoria (UP) Sports Campus (LC de Villiers) on Saturday, 28 January 2017. The hugely successful event boasted two packed sessions during which first-year students were formally welcomed to the University with inspirational words from Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof Cheryl de la Rey and some practical advice from the chairperson of the temporary student committee, Mr Henrico Barnard. As an added bonus, guests were entertained by the Tuks Camerata choir, who performed a variety of pieces from their award-winning repertoire.
After the formal academic procession, Prof Tinyiko Maluleke, Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, delivered the opening remarks and introduced the members of the executive, the deans and Mr Barnard. 'I take great pleasure in welcoming each and every one of you – parents, guardians and students – to this wonderful occasion,' he said. Prof Maluleke then invited the Vice-Chancellor and Principal to the podium to deliver her welcome address.
Prof De la Ray said that it gave her great pleasure to welcome all the first-year students, their parents, guardians and family members to UP. 'As I look back at my time here at the university, our annual Welcome Day is one of my favourite events on the University calendar. I find the sense of hope, anticipation and excitement we experience among our new students energising and inspiring, and I am aware that my colleagues have a similar experience,' she remarked.
'This is a particularly inspiring class. Competition to be a UP student is fierce and we are delighted to have such an abundance of intellectual talent this year,' said Prof De la Rey. She elaborated by saying that 40% of the 4 174 learners who obtained a National Senior Certificate with six or more distinctions, and more than half of the 26 who obtained nine or more distinctions, applied to study at UP. There was a similar pattern among learners who wrote the Independent Examination Board (IEB) examinations. Fifty-one percent of the 925 IEB learners who obtained six or more distinctions and 59% of the 68 who obtained eight or more distinctions applied for enrolment at UP.
Prof De la Ray also highlighted a few of the new students' unique stories, including that of the youngest ever first-year student in the history of the University of Pretoria. She also expressed her appreciation for the fact that so many of the students joining the University this year are second- or even third-generation Tukkies, stating that she was heartened by the inter-generational continuity and that so many parents and families have chosen to entrust the University with the future of their children.
Prof De la Rey concluded her address by thanking the students and their families for choosing UP and assuring them that the University's team would ensure that they all become proud students, alumni, supporters and friends of the University.
Click on the link below to watch a video of Welcome Day 2017.