First Year Academy’s ‘Prestige’ students continues on road of academic excellence – well into postgraduate studies
Of the thirty students who were rewarded for their hard work at the first Prestige evening (in 2008) of Stellenbosch University’s First Year Academy (FYA), no less than 17 received their degrees cum laude in 2009, a further nine students got their degrees, also cum laude, in 2010 and of the big group about 17 either already obtained a postgraduate qualification or are currently busy with postgraduate studies.
Prof Magda Fourie, Vice-Rector: Teaching at SU, shared these statistics at this year’s Prestige evening. She also said according to the nominations of the students some of the characteristics of a good lecturer include their excellent knowledge of their subject matter, their ability to explain complex in a simple and understandable manner, their accessibility and their caring attitude and compassion for students.
The gala event, held at Neethlingshof, is held to acknowledge the academic achievements of thirty students first year students (now in their second year of study).
Prior to the event each student, from across the ten faculties, had to indicate, in writing, which lecturer they felt had made the greatest contribution to their success during their first year at Stellenbosch University. These lecturers were, in turn, invited to attend the dinner and to respond, also in writing, to the students that had nominated them.
The lecturers in turn said what they noticed among all the nominated students were their curiosity, innovative thoughts, intelligence and willingness to work hard.
Prof Russel Botman, SU Rector, welcomed the guests and said the evening is there to celebrate excellence. He told the students that with this achievement comes the responsibility to use their knowledge and skills to help others. He encouraged them to pool their knowledge to help with solutions for the problems in the country as well as continent. He also congratulated the nominated lecturers and said they are the ‘key figures’ and play a very important role in the academic progress of students.
Hanri Smith, who was nominated in 2008 ( for 2007), obtained his Mechanical Engineering degree cum laude at last year’s graduation ceremony, was also one of the speakers at the Prestige evening. He encouraged students to lead a balanced life and said although the academic side is very important; students must also enjoy their “Stellenbosch experience. “It goes by very quickly and it is something, once it is gone, you can never get back. You can always ‘rewrite’ an exam, but not your student days at Stellenbosch.”