The UMP brand is growing and so is rate at which the institution is excelling. The university has recorded a total number of 27 students who were awarded/conferred their qualifications Cum Laude (distinction), 40 of these are recipients of the Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship and 15 were awarded for academic excellence (May 2021).
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Thoko Mayekiso, marked the graduation as a moment of pride and anticipation for the opportunities, challenges and accomplishments that lie ahead for the newly graduated.
She further acknowledged the unsung heroes who walk beside and in front to lead and guide students until they reached their final destination.
“The academic journey can never be complete without others walking alongside it with you. The purpose of those fellow travellers in this life is to cheer you, to inspire you, to cajole you, to encourage you, indeed to exhort you, prod you and spur you on.
To boost your energy levels when your morale is sagging, and to be there, just when you need the second wind to finish the journey. It is, therefore, always gratifying to see this particular journey come to fruition,” she continued.
“While this occasion is about you, there are also other people who have contributed significantly to your getting to this delightful point in life. Those who supported and nourished you, those whom you will never be able to thank enough, such as your families, your loved ones, members of your communities, your funders, lecturers, to mention a few.”
This year’s graduation was marked by firsts and some making history to put the institution on the map. Amongst some of the notable achievements for this year’s graduation included:
- Confidence Ndlovu who makes history by becoming the first student from the University of Mpumalanga to graduate with a Master’s Degree in Development Studies. She also completed her degree Cum Laude. Ndlovu’s research seeks to solve current problems.
- Twins, Noncedo and Ncedile Chiloane graduated at the same time. Noncedo graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Agriculture in Post-Harvest Technology and Ncedile with a Bachelor of Development Studies Honours.
- Six students who are the pride and joy of their respective families as they become the first members to graduate; two of these completed their studies Cum Laude.
Congratulating the graduates Professor Mayekiso said: “I hope that we have equipped you with the capacity to lead fulfilled, meaningful and successful lives. Lives that will proceed to empower and enrich other lives and in so doing, contribute to making the world a better place than you found it."
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, Professor Shirley Sommers-Mthethwa reminded graduates of their resilience as they start a journey into the unknown.
“You have accomplished your goals under the most extraordinary circumstances. We're very proud of the work that you have accomplished. We know that while you will leave the physical structures of the University of Mpumalanga, you will carry UMP with you wherever you go.”
“You will carry the values that have been instilled and cultivated in you over the years you spent at UMP, values of always striving for excellence in everything that you do, of embracing and celebrating diversity in all its forms,” she continued.
“The values of upholding integrity in all interactions and situations, of seeking out collaboration opportunities in order to maximize human potential, of being adaptable - especially in these precarious times, of being relevant to the African context, and of being a source of inspiration for others to be more and to do more. These values will distinguish you from other graduates in South Africa,” she concluded.
@ Story by Lisa Thabethe. Pictures by ChrisplPhoto.