Honorary doctorates awarded at spring graduation ceremony
The University of Pretoria awarded five honorary doctorates and four Chancellor’s medals at its spring graduation ceremony early in September 2008.
Honorary doctorates were conferred on Prof Jacobus Daniel van Wyk (DEng), Dr David Fogel (DPhil), Prof Brenda Gourley (DCom), Prof Dr Peter Johan Lor (DPhil) and Dr Beryl Thomson Sue Atkins (DLitt). Furthermore, a Chancellor’s Medal was awarded to Dr Brigalia Ntombemhlope Bam, Mr John Sinclair Roos, Mr Daniël Christiaan Odendaal and Dr Anna Theresa Masamo Mokgokong.
Prof Van Wyk is currently a visiting professor in Electrical and Electronic Engineering Science at the University of Johannesburg. During his distinguished career, he received the highest international research award in his field, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) William E Newell Power Electronics Award (1995). The University honoured him for reaching the ultimate academic heights in his field of study. He can be considered as the Alumnus from the School of Engineering who has achieved the most as a researcher.
Dr Fogel is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Natural Selection, Inc in the USA. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the application of computational intelligence methods and statistical experimental design to real-world problems in industry, medicine and defence. He has been extensively involved with the IEEE and is currently the President of this organisation’s Computational Intelligence Society. He was honoured for the major role he plays in the IEEE.
Prof Gourley has been the Vice-Chancellor of the Open University since 2002 and was previously Vice-Chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal for eight years. She is a qualified chartered accountant and was nominated for an honorary doctorate in accounting sciences for her valuable contributions to the South African and international higher education sector and the accountancy profession.
Prof Dr Lor is an extraordinary professor in the Department of Information Science. He is also the Secretary-General of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) in The Hague, the largest body of librarians and information professionals in the world. Prof Lor received the honorary degree for the exceptional leadership role he played in the library information system profession in South Africa and internationally and for his outstanding research contributions in this regard.
Dr Atkins is a lexicographer and originated the idea of the British National Corpus when she was Lexicographic Adviser to Oxford University Press. She is a co-founder of the Lexicographic MasterClass, and most of her recent work – teaching lexicography and managing dictionary projects – has been carried out in that context. She has served on numerous committees and published extensively in this field, and is also a previous President of the European Association for Lexicography (Euralex).
Dr Bam started her career, which spans more than 50 years, as a schoolteacher and has been the Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) for seven years. Her career has been dedicated to issues pertaining to women’s, children’s and human rights. The University has been associated with Dr Bam in that she was instrumental in the congress meetings of South African Women in Dialogue (SAWID) that were hosted on UP’s campus. She was honoured for her achievements and the vital contributions she has made to society and especially women.
Mr Roos is the Director of the Unisa Music Foundation, and coordinates all its music tuition projects. Since 1982, he has been extensively involved with the organisation of Unisa’s biennial international music competitions and he is also the artistic director of these competitions. He is regularly invited to serve on the judging panels of important national and international music competitions and is an examiner for Unisa’s Department of Music. Mr Roos is an extremely important ambassador for South African culture.
Mr Odendaal is the owner of Danie Odendaal Produksies and the producer of the SABC 2 soap opera 7de Laan. He originally produced mainly children’s programmes, single dramas and drama series. When Egoli started, he got involved as a director and main writer. Seven years later, SABC 2 and Annie Basson approached him to create a multicultural, Afrikaans soap opera, and 7de Laan is currently in its eighth year of broadcast. He was honoured for his contribution to Afrikaans media and culture and specifically Afrikaans television.
Dr Mokgokong is known locally and abroad as a talented business entrepreneur. She is the President of the International Women’s Forum of South Africa, as well as a member of the Chairperson’s Forum. She serves on the boards of a number of companies, and also served on the councils of the University of Pretoria and Unisa. Dr Mokgokong was honoured for the enormous contribution she has made to the business world and because she is such an inspirational role model for women entrepreneurs in South Africa.