It is a great honour to have been invited to lead the University of Cape Town as Vice-Chancellor from July 2008.
UCT has had only eight Vice-Chancellors over the past 178 years. Each has made a distinctive impact and contributed to the rich traditions and achievements that have seen UCT acknowledged as a leading research-led university in South Africa and indeed far beyond our borders.
Professor Njabulo S Ndebele, the current Vice-Chancellor and Principal, has, among other initiatives, ably led a significant transformation agenda. This will prove to be an important legacy both for UCT and for higher education nationally.
I intend building on this legacy by continuing to pursue a dynamic transformation agenda, in consultation with what is an outstanding body of staff and students. I will suggest that this be done with a focus on responsiveness to local and continental needs, while simultaneously engaging with global trends. We will do this while building on our reputation for outstanding teaching, research and social responsiveness.
I am privileged to be able to join a stable and well-organised institution. This is the result of the dedication and hard work of many colleagues under the leadership of Prof Ndebele, and creates the opportunity to take the university to another level.
This is essential as the powerful and inescapable global milieu of higher education propels us to action. My commitment is to build on the excellence that is evident across campus and to consolidate UCT's status as a gateway to our continent, offering distinctive perspectives and participating, often leading, global dialogue and knowledge networks. This will further the imperative of producing highly skilled graduates, marketable to lead in global economies.
The quality of our graduates is inextricably linked to outstanding research, and I intend to build on UCT's formidable record of scholarship. I believe it is in participating in and competing with the best the world has to offer, that UCT can and will make its largest impact locally as well as internationally.
Last Thursday I accepted the appointment to lead UCT over the next five years. I thank all those who have placed such trust in me, especially members of the UCT community and the UCT Council.
Today, I feel an immense sense of responsibility. This is coupled with excitement and a deep commitment to do my utmost to ensure that UCT will go from strength to strength during my term of office.
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