Donna matriculated from Victoria Girls’ High School in 1995. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree with distinctions in Anthropology and Psychology in 2000, a BA Hons in Anthropology with Distinction in 2001, and a MA in Anthropology in 2006. While completing her studies, she worked in various positions at Rhodes University as a tutor, student assistant and admin assistant in the Student Bureau and Academic Admin. In 2007 she was appointed as an Academic Administrative Officer in the Registrar’s Division, a position she held for ten years. Quietly confident, efficient and with a fine eye for detail, she soon earned the respect of her colleagues and formed strong friendships in the division. She was very knowledgeable about the myriad of complex, interrelated academic admin processes ranging from registration, admission to different degrees, curriculum approvals to postgraduate thesis submissions, processing examiners’ reports and communicating outcomes to students.
In 2017, Donna was appointed as the Faculty Officer in the Education Faculty, where she applied her knowledge of the academic admin systems to modernise and transform the faculty admin systems and enhance the faculty website. She took a keen interest in student matters and displayed compassion and empathy when they sought the Dean’s help, experienced a crisis or had to make a tough decision about their studies. She was popular among staff and always went out of her way to assist them when they did not understand how an academic admin process worked. In 2020, after much consideration, Donna decided to pursue her dream of becoming a qualified primary school teacher. She took a bold step and resigned from her permanent position as Faculty Officer to register for a one-year, full-time Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Intermediate Phase Teaching) qualification, which she obtained with distinction. It is a great pity and loss to the teaching profession that she could not secure a permanent teaching post in Makhanda. She was employed as a part-time Personal Assistant to the Deputy Head of St Andrew’s College at the time of her untimely passing.
Donna will be remembered as a caring, kind, loyal, sincere colleague and friend and a supportive and loving wife to Alan and stepmother of Maia and Kayla. It was a privilege working with her. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her. May her soul rest in peace.
Dean of Education (2011-2021)Source: Professor Di Wilmot, former Dean of Education