The Vice Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, Professor Ihron Rensburg, today announced that Dr Barack Obama has duly informed the university that he has accepted the university’s award on him of the honorary doctorate of laws.
The Vice Chancellor said, “It is my delight and pleasure to announce, on behalf of the entire community of the University of Johannesburg, that Dr Barack Obama has become our newest alumnus, and that all matters relating to the award were concluded according to the relevant policies and charters of the university.”
The ceremonial conferral of the honorary doctorate on Dr Barack Obama will not take place during Dr Barack Obama’s visit to South Africa. The Vice Chancellor said that, “There at least three reasons for postponing the conferral of the award. First, it is normal and standard that the formal procedures relating to the conferral of an honorary degree do not coincide with the actual conferral of the qualification. Secondly, Dr Barack Obama’s visit to South Africa is a matter between the South African State and the USA. Accordingly, and on this occasion, Dr Obama is a guest of the South African State and the South African people, and not of the University of Johannesburg.
As such, he has a full schedule determined well in advance which does not include the matter of the ceremonial conferral of the honorary degree – in spite of intense media speculation in this regard. Thirdly, Dr Barack Obama’s visit to South Africa coincides with the worrying and unsettling matter of the illness of our beloved former President Nelson Mandela, and in this regard, both UJ and Dr Barack Obama would wish to use this time to join the people of South Africa, and of the world, in praying for Madiba and his family.”
Accordingly, the ceremonial conferral of the honorary doctorate on Dr Barack Obama will take place at a future occasion on a mutually agreed date.