Message from the President of the Executive Committee of Convocation – Mr Leslie Mpunzi

Dear Convocation Members

I take this opportunity of conveying, through you, the greetings of the Executive Committee of UJ Convocation.

A quick look at statistics tells me that this year’s graduation cohort consists of  14 230 students. I felicitate all the students of this great university who have successfully graduated in their respective academic disciplines. UJ is a young, vibrant, and agile university which is taking the lead across Africa in being one of the most innovative and vibrant institutions of higher learning. According to the latest Times Higher Education (THE) Young University Rankings released in May this year, the university is now ranked position 1 in South Africa and on the African continent among universities that are younger than 50 years worldwide. This is laudable. We note with great pride and satisfaction its place amongst the top institutions globally as it has demonstrated exceptional progress, challenging well-established institutions, some of which have more than a century of legacy. These rankings reaffirm that UJ remains resolute in its mission to deliver world-class education and drive impactful research and innovation that contributes to societal impact. This is a proud moment for all of us and our young academic institution. I, therefore, wish to congratulate the university led by the visionary leadership of our highly esteemed Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi and his team for this outstanding achievement.

As we might all know, each cohort of graduate students develops its own collective memory. You have worked together, and you have had fun together. We therefore wish to invite you to our Gala Dinner which will take place at the end of the year to fundraise for our missing middle students and graduates with historical debt to enable them to attain their qualifications and enter the labour market. The prevalent challenge for universities nationally, has always been to secure sustainable funding while adapting and reinventing to fit future demands. It is our hope that through your continuous and collective support, we will be able to raise funding to assist graduates from poor backgrounds to realize their dreams and aspirations of acquiring their certificates. This will serve as a focal point for our fundraising initiatives.

With great sadness, I must convey that since the beginning of our academic year, UJ has lost about 5 students due to unnatural causes of death. One death is one too many. Our hearts are saddened by this loss, and we wish to express our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the deceased. Our thoughts are with the families of the affected students. The university takes the safety and well-being of its students seriously and has various support functions to assist affected students through the Centre for Psychological Services (PsyCaD).

Lastly, the influenza season has made its unwelcome return, and I would like to urge all of you to keep warm and exercise all possible preventive measures to prevent infection and mitigate the rapid transmission of this virus.

I once again wish to thank you all for your unwavering support and commitment to this great institution. I am convinced that the future of UJ is bright and wish you well in your future endeavours.

Best wishes

Leslie Mpunzi [President]