The University of the West Indies (UWI) continues to hold special significance for its historic and contemporary frontier role in nurturing, mobilising and unifying our intellectual and academic endeavors to build an empowered, transforming, prosperous and post-colonial Caribbean and Global Africa. This was the sentiment of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Prof Ihron Rensburg on Saturday, 21 October 2017.
Prof Rensburg was one of 12 recipients – including individuals of eminence in the arts, sciences and other fields of intellectual endeavour, as well as persons who have made outstanding regional or international contributions, who received honorary doctoral degrees during UWI’s 2017 graduation ceremonies.
Prof Rensburg was honoured for his policy, strategy, leadership, and managerial skills, ably demonstrated during his stewardship of South Africa’s post-apartheid education policy, legislation and programmes, as well as during the complex merger that led to the creation of UJ.
As an anti-apartheid activist and leader, Prof Rensburg spearheaded local and regional teachers’ and students’ movements and was elected leader in various civic organisations. He is, together with the Deputy Minister of Education, Co-Chairperson of Education Dialogue South Africa, a forum that brings together South Africa’s leading thinkers and civil society organisations to map and support education improvement initiatives.
UWI’s new Chancellor, Robert Bermudez, presided over the graduation ceremonies that commenced on 14 October at the Open Campus; continued on 21 October at the Cave Hill Campus; and are scheduled to carry on until 4 November 2017 at the St Augustine Campus and the Mona Campus.
Prof Rensburg concluded: “Receiving the Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of the West Indies is a great honour and very special privilege that is humbling and inspiring, and results, I believe, from UJ’s shared accomplishments of the last 12 years. And, this honour is one that I dedicate to each one of UJ’s staff, students, alumni and councillors without whom this would not have been possible.”