Passing of Professor Flip van der Watt, retired Dean of Students

Posted on August 16, 2019

The University of Pretoria is deeply saddened by the passing of Professor Flip van der Watt, retired Dean of Students, on 8 August 2019.

Born in August 1937, Professor Van der Watt completed his undergraduate studies at the University of the Free State. He pursued his postgraduate theological education at the University of Stellenbosch and qualified as a Minister in the Dutch Reformed Church in 1961. After a sWEtint as an academic in Stellenbosch, he joined the University of Pretoria in 1975, first as Head of the Department of Church History and Church Polity, then as Deputy Dean in 1984 and as Dean of the Faculty of Theology in 1987.

He was a respected academic with a formidable publication record and outstanding reputation in the University, the church and the community. He received many awards, most notably the 1988 Totius Prize for Theology by the South African Academy for Science and Art (Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns).

In 1989 Professor Van der Watt made a significant career move when he was appointed as Dean of Students. In this role, which he took up during a critical period in the history of the University and the country, Professor Van der Watt left an indelible mark on the lives of tens of thousands of students, whose interests were his primary concern. Former students and staff alike continue to speak of him with the greatest of admiration, respect and fondness.

During Professor Van der Watt’s tenure as Dean of Students until his retirement in 2001 he was responsible for overseeing the major functions of student guidance and development, with all the student structures involved, student health and student support, including counselling services, as well as student sport.

Apart from his family, his church, the students he served and his passion for sport, Professor Van der Watt will also be remembered for his keen interest in history. The University will be forever grateful for his legacy in writing up the history of UP. His post-retirement work in this regard appears in Ad Destinatum IV, capturing the history of the University for the period 1993 to 2000, Rectores Magnifici, about the first 11 UP Rectors, and Tukkie-rugby by die millennium.

Through his passion and strong commitment to the well-being of students, Professor Van der Watt has left a lasting positive impression on thousands of UP alumni and former colleagues.

Our sincere condolences go out to his wife, children and grandchildren, family and friends.

Office of the Vice-Principal: Student Affairs and Residences

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences