05 July 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Stephen Collett
June Graduation medalist
Recipients of special awards are from left; Elzmarie Oosthuizen, Council Medalist; Jannie de Villiers, Chancellor's Medalist; Dr Khotso Mokhele, UFS Chancellor; Dr Jerry Mofokeng Wa Makhetha, and Dr Barnard Fanaroff, both honorary doctorate recipients.

The UFS presented a number of special awards during the graduation ceremonies on its Bloemfontein Campus on 27 and 28 June 2019. 

Jannie de Villiers earns UFS Chancellor’s Medal

Recipient of the 2019 Chancellor’s Medal, Jannie de Villiers, is a renowned leader in the agricultural and food sectors, nationwide and globally. He started his career as an economist for the South African Department of Agriculture in 1985, and dedicated more than 30 years of his knowledge, skills, and leadership to the agricultural sector, specifically in grain-industry development. 
Mr De Villiers is commended for various initiatives he has implemented throughout his career to enrich people’s lives. Among others, he has equipped upcoming farmers with the necessary knowledge and practical skills to advance crops, and in the process established a sustainable livelihood for South African citizens.

UFS Council honours Elzmarie Oosthuizen

Council Medal recipient, Elzmarie Oosthuizen, is the Director: Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning for Natural and Agricultural Sciences (NAS). 

Ms Oosthuizen’s leadership in foundation and bridging programmes are exceptional. She has successfully initiated a programme to promote teaching and learning in Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Economics, and Agricultural subjects. Due to her active involvement in managing foundational and bridging programmes for students who do not meet the minimum requirements for mainstream higher-education degrees in NAS, the pass rate of the BSc bridging programme has increased from 34% to 83%. 

“This award inspires me to sustain my efforts and find extraordinary solutions for the challenging and complex scenarios that we are facing in higher education,” said Ms Oosthuizen. 

Dean’s Medal recipients

The Faculty of the Humanities has honoured Michelle Nöthling (Master of Arts in Africa Studies) and the Faculty of the Theology and Religion awarded Megan Braithwaite (Master of Arts in Theology with specialisation in Bible Translation) with Dean’s Medals on the morning of 28 June 2019. The Faculty of Education also honoured Deborah Lynn Fair, who achieved the best results for her master’s degree in Education with specialisation in Curriculum Studies, with a Dean’s Medal.

On the afternoon of 28 June, Teboho Mooko (Master of Medical Science with specialisation in Pharmacology) received the Dean’s Medal in the Faculty of Health Sciences, and Tshanduko Mutandanyi (Master of Science majoring in Geohydrology) were awarded both a Dean’s and Senate Medal in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

Dr Khotso Mokhele hosts Chancellor’s Dinner

Later that evening, the Chancellor of the UFS, Dr Khotso Mokhele, hosted the Chancellor’s Dinner in the Centenary Complex on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus, paying tribute to the outstanding achievements of the recipients of UFS Honorary Doctorates, Council and Chancellor’s Medals, and Doctorates. 

Among the honoured guests were honorary doctorate recipients, Dr Jerry Mofokeng wa Makhetha (DLitt Honoris Causa – Faculty of the Humanities) and Dr Bernie Fanaroff (DSc Honoris Causa – Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences); Mr Jannie de Villiers, Chancellor’s Medallist; Ms Elzmarie Oosthuizen, Council Medallist; the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen; and Mr Willem Louw, Chairperson of the UFS Council.

Guests also enjoyed a musical performance by the Graduation Instrumental Ensemble under the direction of Anton Esterhuyse, accompanied by the vocal ensemble of Thabo Hlongwane, Jacobus Silwer, and Mario Lategan.

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