2010 Recipients

Citations for the 2010 recipients:


Jennifer Ann Thomson, currently Professor Emeritus in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Cape Town, was the first PhD graduate produced by the newly established Department of Microbiology at Rhodes University in 1973. She went on to a Post Doctoral Fellowship at Harvard University and was also a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After eleven years at the University of the Witwatersrand, she was appointed as Professor and Head of the Department of Microbiology at UCT, receiving the UCT Distinguished Teacher’s Award in 1996. Jennifer also holds an Honorary Doctorate from the Sorbonne University and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa.
Two of the most distinguishing features of Jennifer’s career are her contribution to the public understanding of science and her endeavours to promote the participation of women in science. She has won a number of awards for her work in this regard, including the prestigious L’Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science for Africa, and was the co-founder of SAWISE, an organisation that provides access and supports the development of women in science and engineering.
Jennifer has championed the cause of biotechnology, particularly in the agricultural field, and has worked tirelessly to promote the public understanding of the benefits of genetically modified crops in sub-Saharan Africa. She has published two books, several book chapters and more than 50 research papers in international peer reviewed journals, as well as making presentations to international bodies such as the United Nations and the World Economic Forum.
Jennifer’s outstanding academic career and her commitment to related social issues have undoubtedly done her alma mater proud.


Adrian Arnott graduated from Rhodes with a BCom degree in 1967 and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1970. After two years in the Middle East, Adrian returned to South Africa and joined the financial services industry, working in various capacities in the Anglo American Group. During this time he attended the Programme for Management Development at the Harvard Business School. Prior to the formation of the FirstRand Group in 1998, he was Executive Director of Strategic Finance at Southern Life, also holding directorships at Real Africa Holdings and African Life and in the company’s United Kingdom associate. In June 2010 he retired as Company Secretary for the FirstRand Group – the largest banker in South Africa.
Aside from being steeped in the commercial world, Adrian has also played a significant part in promoting and facilitating corporate social investment. He was associated with the creation of the FirstRand Foundation and still serves as a trustee. Adrian has taken an active and personal interest in the contributions which this fund has made to the upliftment of communities and organisations in South Africa. In this role, he has, in a transparent but committed manner, ensured that the needs of Rhodes University have received due consideration. Examples of which are the two chairs funded by the Foundation for Maths Education and Math Literacy and significant donations for bursaries and special projects, such as the construction of Alumni House. In addition, Adrian has personally arranged many introductions to potential supporters of Rhodes in order to further the cause of his beloved alma mater.
“Adrian is an individual who personifies many of the finest qualities of a Rhodes graduate. These include a lifelong love of learning, true leadership, a care and concern for his fellow human beings and tremendous loyalty to the institution which helped develop his character.”


Pearce Rood graduated with a BA, LLB from Rhodes in 1955 and went on to become a senior partner in the largest international law firm in the world, Messrs. Baker & McKenzie. He managed their office in Tokyo for many years, in the process becoming fluent in the Japanese language. His final years of law practice were based in London, during which time he was a member of the European Advisory Board to the Mitshubishi Corporation, along with other luminaries such as Sir Peter Parker, former Chairman of British Rail.
Pearce has remained fiercely patriotic towards his old school, Pretoria Boys High, as well as his University and has utilised his extraordinary range of international connections in the law and business world to champion the cause of Rhodes with great effect. This includes being a founding member and trustee of the Rhodes University Trust in the UK. Further contributions to Rhodes include sponsoring four prizes for Law students on an annual basis over the last 20 years, as well as a recent donation to the Rhodes Law Library of his uniquely full set of all the issues of the South African Law Journal since its inception in 1884.
Pearce’s philanthropic interest in South Africa also extends to the support of other development projects. An example of this is his imaginative funding of sports facilities for young, poor children in the previously disadvantaged communities of the Western Cape.
His high-level achievements in the legal and business field, combined with his generous and unflagging support of his alma mater and the Law Faculty in particular, make Pearce Rood a worthy recipient of the Old Rhodian Award.

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