Raising the Bar 162 PhDs Conferred in 2019

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Over the past three years the number of doctoral degrees produced by the University of Fort Hare has increased remarkably. There has also been a notable surge in the number of graduates  from 3122 three years ago to 3990 this year. In 2016 110 PhDs were conferred.  The number leaped to 154 in 2018 and 162 this year.

The 2019 Spring Graduation Ceremony -  the second and final  for the academic year -  was held in Alice on 12 September. As per norm, the ceremony was split into two sessions. After the academic procession led by Chancellor Advocate Ntsebeza, a moment of silence was observed in honour of two alumni,  President Robert Mugabe and boxing champion, Leighandre' "Baby-Lee" Jegels, as well as all UFH students  who passed away this year .

Altogether,  381 degrees and diplomas were conferred across six faculties. Of those, 37 were doctorates. In May 125 PhDs were conferred.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sakhela Buhlungu congratulated the graduates for making it “against all odds”

“We commend you for keeping your focus. We will continue to strive to have an academic year that is strike-free, where every day is dedicated to teaching and learning and research,” said Prof Buhlungu.

The guest speaker for the morning session was Ms Sindiswa Qayi,  Managing Director of Amahlati Eco-Tech Africa and inventor of an energy-saving device called the  Hot Spot. In 2016, her invention won the Youth-Led Business Award at the Global Clean Tech Innovation Programme for small and medium sized enterprises.

"I failed in the first business I started.  I lost everything and drowned in debt. I dusted myself up and started again. Go out there and try new things, learn, fail but never stop trying,” Qayi told the graduates.

 Ms Andiswa Mlisa, Managing Director at the South African National Space Agency’s (SANSA) Earth Observation directorate was the guest speaker for the afternoon session

Mlisa encouraged the graduates to know their why, to make informed decisions, collaborate, cooperate and to be competitive.”

“As you embark on this exciting new chapter of your life, think about the contribution you will make to this country, to this world. Ask not what the government can do for you, but what can you do for government.” she said.

Friends and family filled the  Sports Centre to the rafters and ululated in celebration of the milestone achieved by their loved ones.