Allan Gray Academic Achievement Awards 2014

Rhodes University staff, students and members of Allan Gray celebrated successful partnerships, recognised talent and rewarded excellence at the recent Allan Gray Academic Achievement Awards. 

This year’s awards were attended by the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, the Acting-Dean of Science, Professor George Wells, the Dean of Commerce, Professor Dave Sewry, the Deputy-Dean of Commerce, Professor Lynette Louw, various Heads of Department, representatives of Allan Gray and guest speaker, Mr Siyabulela Xuza. Kirsten Barclay, Bongiwe Nkumane and Paul Sebeikin took first, second and third place respectively in the second year category and La'renique van der Ross, Sarah Taylor and Gaolese Moroeng took the awards in the third and fourth year categories.

The Awards recognise top undergraduate performers in the Faculties of Commerce (BCom, BEcon, BBS) and Science (BSc (Information Systems) and BSc (Software Development). The Deans of Commerce and Science identified the top academic achievers in the respective faculties and subsequently Allan Gray extended an invitation to the identified students to participate in the Awards. Participation required the submission of an essay, answering two questions. The questions focused on values and principles and how students can make themselves more marketable in today’s job market. These questions were structured to assess the students’ ability to think both independently and innovatively.  These essays were reviewed by Allan Gray and the winners were announced on the evening of the event, where they were awarded with cash prizes (ranging from R3000 – R20 000) and in addition the overall winners also walked away with an Ipad mini.  

 “Each year we are amazed by the calibre of students and the quality of work. Through this initiative we strive to recognise excellence and ultimately foster great relationships with both the students and the University,” said Faizil Jakoet, Head of Retail Client Services at Allan Gray.

“As opposed to being a passive bystander we have decided to do something about bridging the gap between graduates and the workplace and create small networks to bridge these gaps, so that by the time students reach employability they have a wide range of skills. We have strengthened our relationship with Rhodes and are looking forward to continuing the initiative,” he said.

Guest speaker Siya Xuza, award-winning young scientist and Harvard University graduate, shared his inspiring journey and story.

According to Dean of Commerce at Rhodes University, Professor David Sewry, “The job of a Dean comprises a multiplicity of activities, including nurturing and growing an environment for staff and students to prosper as a knowledge team and conspiring, in the very best sense of the word, with organisations like Allan Gray to make that team prosper vigorously and conspicuously,” he said, adding that Allan Gray and Rhodes University’s mutually-beneficial relationship has grown, both visibly and prodigiously, and embodies the University’s desire to champion academic excellence and knowledge creation.

According to Prof Sewry, “Awards aside, strong associations with entities and institutions like Allan Gray are vital in the ongoing development of young people and to the creation of new knowledge.  Rhodes University exists to do just this and, importantly, Allan Gray elects to provide tangible support in our endeavours for which we are indeed most grateful,” he said.

Photograph by Mike Dexter