Message from the Director

Message from the Director - Celebrating Excellence:  Top Academic Achievers Awards Evening 2016

The event is always a celebratory occasion and a special time of the year in the STH calendar when academic excellence is recognised and acknowledged.  Present at the event this year was the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Management, Prof van Lill, the guest speaker was the Country MD: Oracle SA Ms Kholiwe Makhohliso, as well as CEOs, MDs and Senior managers from all the industry partners and sponsors.  In attendance at this prestigious event are the parents, guardians and loved ones of the award recipients and the dedicated lecturers, professional support staff and the top achievers, who are #Leading By Example

Transformation is a topical global issue and something, I feel particularly strong about.  Transformation is not a destination or an end point but a continuous and intentional process that takes place both at an individual and organisational level.  A fair amount of introspection is needed during transformation.  It includes a process of letting go of what is redundant in a current system and includes holding on to a vision that is forward thinking, innovative and all-embracing in terms of race, gender, culture and religion.

In the same vein, excellence needs to be celebrated especially in an era where it appears to be acceptable to be mediocre and fade into the background, be part of the gang and fit in.  I applaud the STH students achieving awards, because they have are not only inspirational but they have shown that they are indeed ahead of their peers because their choice of hard work combined with a strong intention to achieve has paid off.  I quote Aristotle, who said, "Choice not Chance that determines your destiny". The top achievers have made wise choices to date where they have decided to put in that extra sincere effort.    To the top achievers I say…Once you've taste excellence you can never be content with mediocrity and I urged you to take this sense of excellence forward with you into the workplace and in life!

Linking this back to transformation it was said that We Are What We Do and Excellence is a habit and if we can, in our striving for transformation, link this with the habit of excellence and either create or give moments of belonging to others, we as a people will be on the right track , here at UJ, in our country and on our continent and indeed globally where the issues of diversity and transformation are being tackled.

For the digital and #hash tag generation, Higher Education institutions need to ensure that the students are equipped with a forward-thinking, transformational, inclusive, innovative approaches to dealing with the many challenges and disruptors that the world is facing today. As the STH our mission is to develop future- fit leaders, that are sought after, and create legacies.  It is at achievement celebrations such as the awards evenings where we pause and reflect and acknowledge that we are indeed delivering on our purpose

I thank all the STH staff and the teachers, for the important role that they play in nurturing the talents, potential of our students and in developing the knowledge …because as teachers we open the door and the students enter by themselves…into a world full of possibilities.  Albert Einstein said" that it is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.  She recognised the daily dedication of staff to their   craft in awakening and nurturing this joy for knowledge that leads to excellence.

 A heartfelt appreciation was extended to the STH industry partners and sponsors at the awards event, who year in and year out continue to support the STH.  Dr Abrahams thanked them for their generosity both in terms of time and money noting that the students are the future for the sector and industry support and partnership along this journey of learning is vital.  STH partners provided prizes in excess of R300 000

A special word of gratitude is extended to the parents and guardians of the students who were being celebrated as the sacrifices that they've made and the support that they provide to the students cannot be quantified. 

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs with no manual and often the only two gifts that as parents we can give to our  children is …one is roots and the other is wings.

So in our transformation journey, let us continue to celebrate excellence and have this as intrinsic to whatever we do in our daily lives.

Dr Diane Abrahams
School of Tourism and Hospitality (STH)UJ_MM_GIF BANNER.GIF
Developing Future-Fit Leadership

Click here to download a printable version of the Director's message.​