UCT to award honorary docs

01 October 2007

Lord Steyn, the retired senior member of the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords; writers and theatre directors David Kramer and the late Taliep Petersen; engineering scientist Professor Mark Dry; and earth scientist Professor George Philander will all receive honorary doctorates at the UCT December graduation ceremonies this year.

UCT will also confer an honorary doctorate (LLD) honoris causa on Nobel Peace Laureate and Burmese democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently under house arrest in Burma. The degree will be accepted on her behalf by fellow Nobel Peace Laureate Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu, at a graduation ceremony on the 10 December, which is International Human Rights Day.

Professor Mark Dry obtained his BSc and MSc degrees at Rhodes University and his PhD at Bristol University in the UK. He returned to South Africa in 1958 to join Sasol. He retired in 1993 after 35 years of service to take up a position as honorary professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at UCT.

Lord Steyn (Johan van Zijl Steyn) was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship after graduating with BS LLB from the University of Stellenbosch. He studied at University College in Oxford, then returned to South Africa where he joined the Cape Bar. In 1973 he emigrated to the UK. In 1985 he was appointed to the ranks of the Commercial Court. He was elevated to the Court of Appeal and shortly thereafter he was appointed a Law Lord and member of the Privy Council. His work, Democracy through Law: Selected speeches and judgments, was recently published.

David Kramer was awarded a bursary to study at Leeds University in the UK, where he graduated with honours in 1974. He began his musical career performing at folk clubs and campus concerts across South Africa in the early 1980s. His first album was banned by the SABC. He went on to earn 11 gold and one platinum record for his albums. His interest and passion is exploring the South African identity, and the thrust of the five musicals he wrote with Taliep Petersen and one on his own, is in the retelling of a suppressed history.

The late Taliep Petersen studied at the Fitznell School of Music in the UK. He joined forces with David Kramer in 1986 when they wrote their first musical, District Six. This was followed by Fairyland, which ran for three years. Kat and the Kings was their big international success, which was performed for 10 years, including a run on the West End and Broadway. A family member of Petersen will accept the degree on his behalf.

Professor George Philander graduated with a BSc from UCT in 1962 and received his PhD from Harvard University in 1970. He joined the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Programme at Princeton University where he has been ever since. He currently holds the Knox Taylor Chair of Geosciences and until recently was the chair of the Department of Geosciences at that university. He has published widely, including six papers in the journal Nature and four in the journal Science.

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