Veteran staffers honoured

27 August 2007

Veteran UCT staffers were honoured at a luncheon hosted by Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Njabulo S Ndebele at the Smuts dining hall on 21 August.

Long service awards were presented to professional and support staff that have been at UCT for 15, 25 and 35 years.

There were 12 staffers who qualified for the 35-year award, colleagues who have served the university loyally and with commitment. Collectively, they have given 420 years to the institution.

Among the 35-year service awardees was Victor Claasen (left in photograph with Emeritus Professor Lionel Opie), laboratory assistant at the Hatter Institute for Cardiology Research in the School of Medicine.

Claasen spent 33 years working with Opie, director of the Hatter Institute.

Colleagues said Claasen had been "indispensable", and praised him for his positive attitude, quick mind and "wonderful way of never offending anyone".

Almost 35 years ago Claasen helped set up the laboratory from a minute office space. From here he developed a vast array of practical skills over the years.

Many a heart perfusion has had the apparatus checked and the procedure monitored by him.

The long server also oversees the Hatter Institute library meticulously.

"Victor is known for his wit and sense of humour and has a phenomenal memory," a colleague said.

"It's always a toss-up whether to do a computer search or get Victor to give the quicker answer to a missing reference."

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