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New Rhodents enter a tradition of excellence

Date Released: Tue, 10 February 2015 10:23 +0200

DESPITE being South Africa's smallest university, Rhodes University boasts the highest number of Mandela-Rhodes scholars in the country — making up about 15% of students with the prestigious scholarship.

Out of 40 students awarded the scholarship from 500 applicants from around South Africa last year, six were Rhodes students, from seven who made the shortlist.

The university, which makes up less than 1% of the country's student population, has built a century-old reputation of academic excellence, with knowledge as one of its cornerstone values.

As first-year orientation started at the Grahamstown university yesterday, students were already clear on what it meant to be a Rhodent — as Rhodes students are affectionately known — and what was expected of them.

Addressing the students and their parents at the iconic Settlers Monument on Sunday night, vice-chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela spoke about the institution's proud history as a producer of some of the country's best intellectuals and academics.

"We represent less than 1 of the higher education enrolments, but our students win most of the prestigious scholarships," he said. "Just to illustrate this point ... We have the highest number of MandelaRhodes scholars of any South African university."

Setting the tone for the new students, Mabizela boasted about the institution's academic successes. "We are, by far, the smallest university in South Africa ... [and] enjoy the best undergraduate pass and graduation rates of any South African university," he said.

"This is the legacy of success and achievement which has defined Rhodes University for generations."

Article by: Zandile Mbabela

Article source: Herald