Posted on May 05, 2020
University of Pretoria (UP) Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe awarded 11 000 degrees, diplomas and certificates to students in absentia during a virtual graduation ceremony held on 6 April.
This year’s autumn graduation ceremonies, which were scheduled to take place from 7 April to 8 May, have been postponed due to the national lockdown and physical distancing protocols necessitated by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Following the virtual ceremony, students will receive a congratulatory video message from the Vice-Chancellor. They will receive printed certificates during the ceremonies set to take place later this year.
“Today I am conducting a virtual graduation in absentia for all of you, our valued graduates, in the context of a global pandemic caused by COVID-19,” Prof Kupe said. “This virtual ceremony is to enable you to formally graduate so that you can get your certificates and get on with your lives. We can call this ceremony and the title of these brief remarks ‘Graduating in the Time of a Coronavirus COVID-19’.”
He added that the virtual graduation ceremony “will stay in our memories because of the extraordinary way in which the virus has brought the whole world to a standstill. It is a time of anxiety, fear, panic and stress about the fragility of human life. Thousands have died, and more are dying”.
However, UP is among the institutions at the forefront of fighting the virus, ranging from its academics participating in state committees and institutions like the National Institute of Communicable Diseases; testing and treating infected people; conducting research on possible vaccines; as well as using 3D-printing to produce protective materials for healthcare professionals. “This is over and above the UP Faculty of Health Sciences staff being in the frontline in hospitals that are treating people in our province.”
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