Alumni achieve greatness
The NWU’s chancellor, Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi, leader of the Royal Bafokeng nation, said in his address at the awards ceremony that while there are many intelligent ideas being dreamed about every day, only a handful of people achieve greatness.
“Energy spent on some pursuit might be impressive but if and where we find real human challenges, addressing these with our time, talents and passion puts us in the lead to be great.”
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The NWU honoured its top alumni at an awards ceremony in Sandton on 7 October. This year’s awards also included the prestigious NWU Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as recognition for NWU alumni who have excelled in the international sports arena in 2016.
The NWU’s alumni have proven again and again that quality education leads to excellence. They have made their mark, locally and internationally in all spheres of society. 2016 marks the fourth year that NWU alumni have been recognised through the prestigious alumni awards.
Dr Theuns Eloff, former vice-chancellor of the NWU and current executive director of the FW de Klerk Foundation, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. It is only the second time that the NWU has presented this prestigious award in recognition of exceptional achievements. The first recipient was former state president, Mr FW de Klerk.
Prof Linda du Plessis, acting rector of the Vaal Triangle Campus, congratulated the winners on behalf of Prof Dan Kgwadi, the vice-chancellor.
“It’s a real privilege for us to have such a group of distinguished alumni at an event – and to be able to see first-hand the long-term effects of an NWU education. By NWU I include the former University of Bophuthatswana, the University of North West and the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education.”
“Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us and becoming all that we can be.”
Linda highlighted the fact that the NWU was only one of two South African universities that managed to increase their rankings in the 2016 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings.
“Seven of the nine South African universities measured by QS dropped in their rankings on academic and employer reputation. It is clear that we need to direct our time, funds and energy to ensure that we maintain a high-performance, quality-driven environment for staff and students.”
She said the NWU acknowledges that the university needs its alumni in the next chapter of its history.
“May our continual striving towards excellence and our passion for education and research forever run through your veins. May you cherish your NWU yesterdays, make the most of your NWU present and share our dream for the NWU of tomorrow.”
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Sport stars receive recognition
The 2016 Alumni Awards marked the first time that NWU Ambassador Awards and Ambassador Certificates were presented to alumni who have received international acclaim.
Caster Semenya and Sunette Viljoen, who made the podium at the Olympic Games, received NWU Ambassador Awards.
Willem Coertzen, Elroy Gelant, Terseus Liebenberg and Jean Verster received Ambassador Certificates for excelling in their sport disciplines and as coaches.