UP’s Academic Achievers Awards Function

Posted on May 15, 2018

The evening of 10 May 2018 was set aside for the celebration of the University of Pretoria’s (UP) academic achievers at a gala event, to pay tribute to UP’s academics who have shown exceptional achievement in the academic arena for the year 2017. 

The Academic Achievers Awards has become a highlight on UP’s calendar. In her opening address, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UP, Prof Cheryl de la Rey, welcomed all in attendance and made a special welcome to the evening’s guest speaker, Prof Ahmed Bawa, Chief Executive Officer of Universities South Africa, his wife Dr Rookaya Bawa and UP’s Chancellor, Prof Wiseman Nkuhlu. Prof de la Rey also paid tribute to the academic staff who had contributed to UP’s academic mission through their outstanding performances and achievements and pursuit of excellence in the core aspects of academic life, namely teaching, research and community engagement. She also acknowledged the contribution of the deans and the University’s senior leadership in supporting the academic colleagues in their endeavours.

She added that all this effort had ‘contributed to the University being ranked one of the top research institutions globally, through their pursuit of excellence in research, teaching and learning and community engagement.’  Overall, UP is ranked in the 501-550 rank range, according to the latest QS World University Rankings report released in June last year. Previously, QS stated that considering there are approximately 26 000 universities globally (although not all are ranked by QS), this rank positions UP among the top 1,9% of universities in the world.

Prof de la Rey said ‘whilst the landscape that we work in may be subject to changes beyond our control, UP stakeholders can be assured of our unwavering commitment to delivering academic success at the highest level. Our priority as a University is to always provide governance and management that protects and maintains the integrity of the academic project.’

She indicated that UP has achieved this progress while transforming the demographics of the institution:

  • The percentage of black students in 2017 overall: 59.8%
  • The percentage of 1st year intake of black students in 2018: 60.2% - and overall: 60.5%
  • Overall percentage of black staff currently: 60.3%.

Prof Bawa gave a very thought provoking and insightful address, which focused on the relevance of universities in current times. He added that as universities pursue academic excellence, they should also pursue matters that address the important issues of social justice and social responsibility, and relevance to the broad community.  

The evening ended with the presentation of certificates and awards to the Academic Achievers.

  • Chancellor’s Award - Research:  Prof Nigel Bennett 
  • Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarly Book Award:  Dr Reghard Brits
  • Exceptional Academic Achievers:  Prof Juan Bornman, Prof Christo Botha , Prof Christof Heyns, Prof Ann Skelton
  • Exceptional Young Researchers: Dr Mardé Helbig, Prof Tjaart Krüger, Dr Simnikiwe Mayaphi, Dr Eshchar Mizrachi
  • Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellent Supervision:  Prof Lyn-Marie Birkholtz
  • Teaching Excellence Laureate Awards: Dr Thirusellvan Vandeyar, Prof Martina Crole    
  • Community Engagement Award: Dr Victoria Rautenbach.

Further to these special awards, there were two A-rated researchers, 21 B-rated researchers, 76 C-rated researchers, 13 Y-rated researchers.

Prof Nigel Bennett  received the Chancellor’s Award - Research from Prof Wiseman Nkuhlu, UP's Chancellor.



UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Chery de la Rey congratulates Dr Reghard Brits, on his Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarly Book Award.


- Author Myan Subrayan

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