Rhodes University Vice Chancellor, Dr Saleem Badat, addressed a dinner gathering on Thursday of the University’s UK trustees, distinguished alumni, supporters and invited guests, on the strategic objective of the University to increase its number of postgraduate students as a proportion of its total student body. With a new Honours specialisation in Health Journalism and four new Masters programmes having been launched this year as well as an expanded Doctoral programme in Higher Education Studies, the University is well on its way to implementing these objectives and expand its relevance in the global arena.
Dr Badat outlined Rhodes University’s bid to become a UNESCO Category 1 Institute for Water Education and Research as the key institutional hub in this field in Africa. If successful, the University will provide postgraduate education in water science, policy and management, primarily for students from Africa. He said, “We are already involved in water research from source to Antarctica.”
Host of the London event, held at The Reform Club, Geoffrey de Jager, alumnus and Chairman of the Rhodes University UK Trust, paid tribute to his predecessor, the late Derek Jacobs, a former Rhodian, who had been committed, hard working and supportive. He announced the establishment of the Derek Jacobs Scholarship Fund with a £50 000 donation from the Trust towards this Fund, saying, “Derek enjoyed the privilege of being a Rhodes Scholar, which took him from Rhodes University to Oxford. Perhaps someday a Derek Jacobs Scholar might earn the right to follow Derek to Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship”.
Geoffrey de Jager also told guests of the work that Rhodes University is doing in the field of Radio Astronomy by laying the ground work for the Square Kilometre Array Project (SKA) – a revolutionary radio telescope which hopes to answer the fundamental questions about the origin, nature and evolution of the Universe.
He added, “Rhodes University also boasts the Mintek Nanotechnology Centre which positions the University at the forefront of nanotechnology, making cutting edge progress in medicine and industry”.
The Rhodes University UK Trust, which has as its primary purpose the provision of funding and support to Rhodes University, has, to date, raised more than £1 million. The Trust also gave the University a further £150,000 for post graduate scholarships, in line with the direction encapsulated by Dr Badat.
The trustees were delighted to have Pearce and Beaujolais Rood at the dinner, where Pearce Rood received the prestigious Old Rhodian Award for his high-level achievements in the legal and business fields. Until his retirement, Rood was a senior partner of Baker & McKenzie. He was also a founding trustee of the Rhodes University UK Trust and has been a generous supporter of the University for many years.