Rhodes University Logo

2008 Winners

Donovan Neale-May (1971)
Derek Jacobs (1963)
Peter Mzuze (1978)
Gordon Cragg (1953)

13 AUGUST 2008

Rhodes honours outstanding Old Rhodians

The prestigious Old Rhodian Awards recognise Old Rhodians who, through outstanding accomplishments in their professional or personal lives, have enhanced the reputation of the University. An organic chemist, a corporate communications and marketing specialist, an academic, and a corporate finance and management consultant are this year’s outstanding Old Rhodians who, through their individual actions, have become respected role models for the Rhodes community and greater society.
Dr Gordon Cragg, an organic chemist, graduated from Rhodes University in 1956 and went on to develop an impeccable research career both in South Africa and abroad. Dr Cragg’s major interests lie in the discovery of novel natural product agents for the treatment of cancer and AIDS, with an emphasis on multidisciplinary and international collaboration. He has published over 150 papers related to these interests and is currently serving as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Special Volunteer. Dr Cragg’s contributions have earned him three NIH Merit Awards, including the 1991 award for his contributions to the development of the anticancer drug, paclitaxel (taxol), and recognition by the Federal University of Ceara in Fortaleza, Brazil, the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, and the Missour Botanical Garden in St Louis. “Based on his intiatives and leadership, agreements for collaboration between the NCI amd 14 source country organisations, and similar agreements for collaboration in ‘in-country’ drug discovery studies of local organisms have been signed with over 20 organisations in 17 countries. The latter include agreements with Rhodes University and the CSIR in Pretoria, and training and technical assistance have been provided in establishing anticancer screens at the CSIR, as well as at organisations in Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Panama, Thailand and Zimbabwe,” says Professor Alan Polack, an alumnus residing in Tasmania, Australia.
“Over the past 18 years, more than 60 scientists from developing countries have been trained in chemical isolation and anticancer screening techniques in NCI laboratories or NCI academic grantee laboratories. Through such agreements, drug discovery and conservation of genetic resources have been promoted in many developing countries worldwide, and the NCI agreements pioneered by Dr Cragg have been used as models for the negotiation of agreements between many developed countries academic and pharmaceutical organisations and source country organisations in the developing world.”
Donovan Neale-May is a leading ambassador for Rhodes in the United States and is one of the University’s most generous private donors, kickstarting the Centenary Campaign in 2004 with one of the campaign’s largest alumni donations of $100 000. He is the chairman of the Rhodes University US Trust, which manages all US donations to the University, and he has championed a dedicated website for Rhodes Alumni in the United States which is hosted by his company, Global Fluency. He is also one of the prime movers of Ubuntu, a Port Elizabeth based project which funds disadvantaged learners at Grey College and prepares them for university entrance. His professional company is a leading corporate and communications marketing business that services some of America’s leading companies. In addition, he has built a global network of corporate communicators and marketers through this brand.

Last Modified :Fri, 15 Jul 2011 15:00:39 SAST