Talented Williams siblings take on grad en masse

09 December 2002
Two thirds: Greg and Loren Williams, two of the three Williams siblings who will graduate this week. Brother Justin was not able to attend when the photo was taken.

WHEN Mike and Patricia Williams make their journey south for graduation, it will mark a triple celebration for the family. Not one, nor two but three of their children will graduate this week.

The eldest, Justin (26), receives his MSc, Mechanical Engineering (he is currently working at the Volkswagen plant in Uitenhage), Loren (24) will be capped MBChB and Greg (22) will collect his BSc, also in mechanical engineering, following ouboet “Towely's” example.

All three matriculated from Hudson Park High School in East London and came directly to UCT (“Because it is the best university in SA,” said Mike), gathering to share a flat in Rosebank.

“Initially there were three of us in a two-bedroomed flat and we were in each others' faces all the time; fighting for the bathroom, that sort of thing,” Loren commented. “But it was okay. Essentially, we kept very different times.”

Justin moved out some time ago and commuted to Cape Town to complete his MSc. As for Loren and Greg, now that results are out and the heat is off, each has taken time to reflect on the future. Loren will embark on her internship at Groote Schuur Hospital next year and then proceed with her 12-month stint of community service. Thereafter she hopes to travel.

Greg is in that peculiar state of limbo between completing his degree and graduation. He is working part-time in research and development with Omnipless Antenna Systems (his thesis dealt with rotary vibration tables for testing antennae) in Westlake and looking for a permanent position. “I've given out my CV to anyone who will take it,” he quipped.

They are effusive in their praise for their parents. The homemade rusks that found their way to Cape Town were especially appreciated, as were the encouraging phone calls before and after exams.

“We're really proud of them for putting us first,” Greg remarked. “They really gave up a lot for us to be here.” Loren added: “My mother started working when we were young. Now she will be able to think about stopping work.”

Was it tough putting three children through varsity simultaneously? Dad Mike: “Yes, but thanks to good planning and a team effort, the family succeeded as a unit. I supplied some of the money, my wife supplied some of the money, but the children worked damn hard and everyone did their bit with a common goal in mind. My wife, Pat, has the brains and the looks but I drew the short straw and got neither. The advantage is that it's easy to tell where the children got their brains,” he quipped.

There was also the empty nest syndrome to consider. “But as long as you keep your eye on the end result, nothing can stop you. I think we are all wiser and stronger because of what we have been through,” he added. “Family and friends have contributed to this success, but above all I'd like to thank God for all the blessings that he has bestowed on this family.”

All the academic activity has made its mark in another way: egged on by his learned progeny, Mike has taken to his books and is completing the second year of a BCom degree, as a part-time student.

It would seem there is nothing quite like following in your children's footsteps.

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