Welcome to new leaders

Community engagement is core to Rhodes University, Vice-Chancellor Sizwe Mabizela told first-years and their parents at a welcoming ceremony at the Monument on Sunday 8 February.

In a wide-ranging speech Mabizela emphasised the University's ethos, describing "respectful, reciprocal, mutually-beneficial and knowledge driven partnerships with our local (external) community" as one of three core functions of the institutions.

The production and dissemination of knowledge through research, creative endeavours and scholarship, and teaching through critical engagement were the other two.

The evening, filled with warmth, also featured special performances from the Rhodes choir, a speech of real significance from the SRC President and ended with a standing ovation for Dr Mabizela.

"Through our teaching and learning we seek to produce graduates who... will not just see our society or the world as it is but can imagine a better society and a better world and act with courage and conviction to change our society and the world for the better," he told the packed Guy Butler auditorium.

More than 10 000 applicants competed for 1 584 places at Rhodes University in 2015. The registration process under Registrar, Dr Steven Fourie, Desiree Wicks and their team was a remarkable success. More than 1 600 students, many of them first-years, registered before 12pm on Saturday 7 February and Rhodes University exceeded its target from the Department of Education (DOE) for entering undergraduates by 8%.
Grahamstown has resonated during the past week to the sounds of first-years performing their annual "Serenades". The O-Week tradition sees students competing to entertain each other with lively song and dance performances outside each other's residences.

Many other O-Week activities have also been laid on for the first-years, including a lifeskills wake-up in performances of The Amazing Other Show in which sex and relationships get a frank treatment.

Mabizela said the University, in its 111th year of existence, was by far the smallest university in South Africa, but enjoyed the best undergraduate pass and graduation rates of any South African university "This year we hope to reach an enrolment figure of 8 041 students," Mabizela said.

Statistics about Rhodes University:

  • About 59% of the students are female
  • 30% are postgraduate students
  • Over 20% of the students are international students that come from some 66 countries in the rest of Africa and other parts of the world
  • Over 3 600 of the students live in 51 residences on campus and eat in 12 dining halls, where over 10 000 meals a day are served
  • Over 1 500 staff work at Rhodes on 140 hectares of land and in 250 buildings.

Article source: Grocott's Mail

Picture by: Sue Maclennan

Photo caption:First-years Kirsten Segren, Kate Hill, Jake Nathane and Gaby Georgeson shelter from Saturday's heat after registration.

Source:  Grocott's Mail

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