Small investment, big return for Class of '66

23 March 2006

A wise investment made by MBA students in 1966 has yielded a quarter of a million rand donation to the Graduate School of Business (GSB). This was the surprise announcement at the recent 40-year reunion of the very first full-time MBA class graduating from the original campus in Rondebosch, the class of 1966.

More than 40 years ago each class member invested a "couple of rands" in anticipation that one day they could make a meaningful contribution to the school.

According to Gordon Parker, the class president in 1966, who spoke at the reunion opening at the GSB's Waterfront-based campus, the class did a good job of anticipating the future 40 years ago.

"The world has changed dramatically since 1966. We know; we have lived through it. It is difficult to predict the future, but we knew that as young MBA graduates it was likely that someone at some time in the future would ask us for a contribution. We asked ourselves: how could we insure ourselves against this probability? As a result, we each contributed a couple of rands to invest. The result is R250 000 that we are pleased to be able to give to the GSB today," he said.

Professor Frank Horwitz, GSB director, was on hand to thank Parker and the class for their wisdom and donation.

"This generous donation will go towards the GSB's MBA Challenge, a major fundraising initiative in aid of expanding our campus and student bursaries. With growing demand in South Africa for business skills training, this will go a long way to helping us meet this need," said Horwitz.

The MBA class of 1966 had a total of 34 students, and the reunion saw 23 alumni, some from as far afield as Israel, the US, UK and Canada, converge on the GSB, together with the first director of the school, Bob Boland, as well as David Hall, the director who led the move to the present campus in 1991.

The class and their families continued their reunion festivities over the rest of the weekend with a host of activities around the Cape, from a golf day to wine tasting in the Winelands.

For some, the relationship that began with the UCT GSB in 1966 has become one that has extended even across family generations.

For Tony Farr, a former chair of Council and a graduate of that first class, 2006 marks more than just a 40 year reunion - it also marks the year his daughter Moira has enrolled for her MBA at the GSB. "It is quite special being here 40 years after he was here," she says.

Don Wood, also MBA 1966, has also seen his family following in his footsteps in the years after his graduation. First was his brother, Ted (MBA 1973), and then his sister, Meg (MBA 1975).

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