Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Lourens van Staden and his wife Prof Engela van Staden, arrive at the VC’s Dinner in celebration of TUT’s 15th birthday.
The diverse group of guests, among others the DG of the Department of Science, Higher Education and Training, Gwebs Qonde; CEO of Universities SA, Prof Ahmed Bawa; Chancellor, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa; Chair of Council and current MEC of Health in Gauteng, Dr Bandile Masuku; DG of the Department of Science and Technology, Dr Phil Mjwara; speaks volumes about TUT’s successes.
In the evening’s keynote address, Prof van Staden reflected on the merger, also referred to as the murder, in 2004, during which a new identity was developed and the tagline, We Empower People, was coined. He then took the audience on a verbal journey highlighting TUT’s successes, achievements and the TUT agenda spanning the past 15 years, to today, where TUT is known as the people’s university that provides access and opportunities to financially needy, but academically deserving students.
“At the time of the merger of TUT in 2004, we underestimated the enormity of the task facing us. Although there were ups and downs and many challenges, we proved all those merger pessimists wrong,” he said.
Prof van Staden also shared his future vision. “TUT has developed a new Institutional Strategic Plan 2020 – 2025, that will ensure we make knowledge useful. As a University embedded in our communities, we should not only focus on academic outputs but also on impact and responsiveness to societal needs. Since TUT is a national asset, it could play a substantive role in achieving the vision of Government. For this reason, TUT is fully aligned with the 6th Administration and President Ramaphosa’s vision,” he said.
Guests had an opportunity to view exquisite art carrying the unique signature of staff, students and Alumni of the Department of Fine and Applied Art.
He added that over the past 15 years, words like commitment, partnership, cooperation, dedication and enthusiasm regularly appeared in the headlines of TUT publicity. “These words also apply to the everyday activities at our campuses. Without every staff member’s dedication and commitment, our phenomenal successes and achievements would not have been possible. Thank you for all of your contributions to make TUT the number one University of Technology in the country and on the African continent.”
In conclusion, Prof van Staden assured the audience that TUT is committed to developing human capital to suit the needs of industry and a new economy. “The current problem in South Africa is that there is no economic emancipation for all walks of life. One only has to look at the large number of unemployed, idle young people on our streets to see how big the problem, which was again highlighted by the recently released unemployment statistics, really is.”
In addition to having an opportunity to view art carrying the unique signature of staff, students and Alumni of the Department of Fine and Applied Art, guests thoroughly enjoyed the abundant energy and talent of our Musical Theatre students when they performed a special TUT 15 year celebration anthem, written by Dr Rostislava Pashkevitch.