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Alumni UK Chapter launch: celebrating UJ’s global reach

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has always been a beacon of educational excellence, nurturing a global network of alumni who have made significant impacts in various fields worldwide. On the 4thOctober 2023, UJ’s proud legacy came to life as the UJ Alumni United Kingdom Chapter was officially launched. The event took place at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Grafton Hotel in London, England, offering a night of nostalgia, networking, and the creation of new connections.

A cordial invitation

Under the leadership of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UJ, Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi, this event was a unique opportunity for UJ alumni living in the United Kingdom to reconnect with their alma mater, share memories, and establish new networks. Professor Mpedi extended a cordial invitation to all UJ alumni and their partners to join in this celebration of UJ’s global reach and the accomplishments of its alumni in the UK.

In his address, Prof Mpedi encapsulated the essence of UJ’s enduring commitment to education, innovation, and societal impact.

A rich history and a microcosm of society

“UJ’s history is rich and represents a long legacy that you are all now a part of,” Professor Mpedi began. Indeed, UJ’s journey has been a tapestry woven with the threads of educational excellence and innovation. Founded on principles of access and excellence, UJ has stood as a testament to the transformative power of education.

With its diverse student body, UJ serves as a microcosm of South African society. Professor Mpedi underscored, “We are undoubtedly a world in crisis which is reflected in our country and this vibrant city.” The challenges faced by UJ’s students, such as the digital divide, mirror the complexities of modern South Africa.

UJ’s commitment to humanity and innovation

Shifting the focus towards UJ’s role in societal impact, Professor Mpedi spoke passionately about the university’s commitment to humanity and innovation. He stated, “As we continue to make strides with technology, we must do so in a way that advances and positively impacts humanity and society.”

He highlighted one of UJ’s remarkable initiatives – the 3D printing project in collaboration with the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). This project showcases how technology from the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) can be harnessed for sustainable solutions that benefit local communities. With the ability to build houses in a day, this innovation addresses pressing issues like homelessness and housing quality.

UJ’s remarkable achievements

Professor Mpedi didn’t shy away from sharing UJ’s recent accomplishments, saying, “Just last week, UJ improved its global standing in the latest results of the 2024 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings.” UJ’s ascent among the top 500 universities globally, in the 401 – 500 band, is a testament to its commitment to excellence.

Looking ahead: UJ’s vision for the future

The future of UJ is bright and forward-looking, as Professor Mpedi affirmed, “As these impressive feats demonstrate, UJ’s future looks to burn even brighter! We are currently crafting a strategic plan, which will take us to 2035 that speaks to this vision.”

The Importance of alumni engagement

In closing, Professor Mpedi emphasised the pivotal role of UJ’s alumni in shaping its future. “You are a living testament to the legacy and values of our institution,” he acknowledged. He described alumni as a valuable network of potential collaborators, mentors, and advocates who contribute significantly to UJ’s vision.

He concluded with a powerful African proverb: “With a little seed of imagination, you can grow a field of hope.” This sentiment underscored the importance of alumni engagement and collaboration in realising the vision and potential of UJ.

The launch of the UJ Alumni UK Chapter marked another significant step in UJ’s journey towards a brighter future, one that its alumni continue to play an integral role in shaping.

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