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UJ pays homage to 5 425 years of collective service excellence

299 staff saluted with Long Service Awards

In recognition of dedicated staff, the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Management, once again, paid homage to 299 employees who have reached their long-service milestone anniversaries in 2016.

Prof Ihron Rensburg (Vice-Chancellor and Principal) and Executive Leadership members, Prof Angina Parekh (Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic); Prof Kinta Burger (Registrar); and Prof Letlhokwa George Mpedi (Executive Dean: Faculty of Law) were part of those awarded that had served the Institution between ten and 45 years. During this period, the 299 recipients of the awards had spent, collectively, 5 425 years of service.

Prof Rensburg thanked the awardees for their continuous support over the years. “The University owes its on-going success to the commitment and dedication of its employees.This is an opportunity to recognise the hope, resilience and determination that have been shown over the years and to celebrate you, our long-serving employees, for your efforts to help build the legacy of our University,” said Prof Rensburg.

At the 2016 Long Service Awards ceremony (16 November 2016), Prof Dirk Daniel Van Reenen (Geology) was recognised as the longest serving employee with 45-years of service. He was followed by Prof Jean Christoph Sonnekus (Law) and Mr Philemon Aphane (Law), who were honoured for their 40 years of service.

Reflecting of his UJ journey, Prof van Reenen said: “My academic journey started on 1 February 1971 when I was appointed as a lecturer in the Department of Geology at the former Rand Afrikaans University. At that time, the Department comprised of only four academic staff members but has since grown to be one of the two largest geology departments in South Africa comprising 23 academic staff members. I acted as Chair of the Department from 1995-1997, and as Dean of the Faculty of Science from 1998 – 2003, after which I retired and re-joined the Department of Geology in 2004 on contract, a position that I am still occupying today.”

During his tenure as Dean Prof van Reenen was elected as Member of Council (1999-2002), Convener of the Strategic Research Planning Committee (2001-2003), and a Honorary Member of the Golden Key International Honour Society (2002).

“Through the early years the few academic staff members of the Department of Geology made the critical decision to implement a number of actions that laid the foundation for what today is considered an internationally recognised research Institution, and a leading Geology department in South Africa,” said Prof van Reenen.

“My long academic journey provided me with the opportunity to collaborate and travel internationally. Exposure to researchers from many different cultures, locally and abroad, not only broadened my horizons, but also those of my family. I am fortunate to be still associated with the Institution at the time when this very large academic institution is functioning at strength. I am also confident that the University will manage new challenges and continue to be an institution of choice for future student generations.

“I will always appreciative the fact that UJ has continuously endorsed my employment on contract, thereby creating the opportunity for me to continue to pursue my international research projects and training of postgraduate students long after having officially retired,” he said.


Long Service Awards2
Prof Dirk Van Reenen (middle) is the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) longest serving employee with 45 years in 2016. At the University’s Long Service Awards ceremony, Prof Van Reenen received a standing ovation from fellow colleagues when the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Ihron Rensburg (left), and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Ms Tumi Mketi (right), presented him with a Long Service Certificate and a gift.
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