An opportunity to make hopes, dreams and aspirations a reality

Thank you for joining us on this significant and historic day of our University.  This morning we are gathered at the Drostdy Lawns to launch the largest and the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the 113-year history of our University.

When I was installed as the sixth Principal and Vice-Chancellor of this fine institution, I made two important commitments:

First, that Rhodes University would be accessible to students from poor, rural and working class families so that they can benefit from the outstanding educational experiences it offers.

Second, that I would make it my personal mission to strive to ensure that no academically deserving but financially needy student is turned away from Rhodes University.

Indeed, no academically capable young person should be turned away from Rhodes University simply because nature so determined that she/he be born into a family of meagre means.

Through this campaign we want to make the transformative Rhodes education accessible and affordable to many academically capable young people of our country irrespective of their financial position.

We have set ourselves an ambitious target of R1billion in 10 years! This target reflects the harsh reality that our needs and those of our students far exceed the available resources. We are grateful that as we launch this ambitious campaign this morning, some private sector companies have already contributed to our financial aid efforts.

Some of these are:

  1. ABSA (Pty) Ltd, who have contributed R5 million rand and are founder sponsors of Isivivane Student Financial Aid campaign;
  2. Hillensberg Trust, who have contributed R1 million;
  3. Mercedes-Benz SA , who have contributed R3 million;
  4. The Niven Trust has given us R1 million to continue with our work to improve the quality of teaching and learning in our local public schools;
  5. LinkSA, CIHCHHHCI Foundation, Old Mutual;
  6. Raymond Mhlaba Bursary Fund;
  7. Albert Wessels Trust Fund;
  8. BATSA Signature Trust;
  9. Stella and Paul Loewenstein Trust;

10. Toyota Motors SA;

11. Our alumni – I can immediately think of Mbuso Mtshali who, together with colleagues, established the Rhodes University Black Students Alumni Fund to support one student in the Law Faculty.

Your support in achieving what we have set for ourselves is vital if we are to continue to make the learning experiences we value so greatly here at Rhodes University more available to all.

Every single day affords us an opportunity to touch someone’s life in a special way. This is an opportunity for all of us to touch others in a special way.  This campaign affords all of us an opportunity to leave a legacy by making excellent educational opportunities available to those who wouldn’t otherwise have those opportunities.

We have an opportunity to make hopes, dreams and aspirations of those less fortunate than we are a reality.

We have an opportunity to make Rhodes University’s first-rate education accessible and affordable to many academically capable young people of our country irrespective of their family financial and social circumstances.

We have an opportunity to ensure that the legacy of Rhodes University as a distinct and distinctive institution of higher learning, a leader in higher education, is further deepened and entrenched.

We have an opportunity to produce graduates who are capable of being change agents and who can embrace the notion of leadership that seeks to serve others; graduates who understand that to lead is to serve.

We have an opportunity to ensure that our University engages in scholarship and research grounded in addressing contemporary challenges facing our society and humankind.

We have an opportunity to ensure that affordability and access to our university is matched with on-time completion. This we will achieve by ensuring that every undergraduate student has access to academic support and services that can help them realise their full academic potential. We must make sure that our students complete their degree programmes in the shortest possible time.

We have an opportunity to make Rhodes University a place of aspiration, inspiration and hope for many young people in our society.

We have an opportunity to create a socially just, humane and equitable society and a better world by supporting those among us who cannot afford Rhodes University education.

I am grateful that many of our students and staff are already contributing in many ways in this endeavour. I challenge the entire Rhodes University community – Council members, members of our Board of Governors, academic and support staff, students, alums and friends – to make a pledge to support this campaign. I invite all of you to embark on this historic journey with us as we endeavour to make transformative quality education accessible to many young people of our country.

There is a lot of work ahead of us. We will pull all stops and spare no energy in driving this campaign nationally and internationally. I hope we can count on each one of you to make dreams, hopes and aspirations of our current and future students a reality.

Our Communications & Advancement Division, led by Mr Luzuko Jacobs, will lead this exciting campaign. I’m deeply grateful for all that they have done to date and for all the considerable efforts they will put into making this audacious and challenging campaign a success.

Thank you very much.

Source:  Vice-Chancellor

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