UCT honours loyal staff

10 January 2008

Long servants: Prof Thandabantu Nhlapo (far left) and Dr Max Price (far right) flank staff members who have finished 35 years of service at UCT: Fred Scotchman, Harold Stuurman, Robert Samuels, Guy Murcott, Jan Ross, Noel Hendricks and Edward Lawrence.

UCT honoured staffers who "epitomise loyalty, steadfastness and commitment" at the 2008 Long Service Awards recently.

Seven of the group had finished 35 years at UCT, 28 had been here for 25 years, and 30 have spent the past 15 years at the university.

Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price said the university appreciated the continued commitment of people who give form and shape to UCT's vision and mission.

"You helped to carry UCT's proud name and image throughout the years."

Here we focus on those who have been here for 35 years:

Noel Hendricks joined UCT in 1973 as a departmental assistant in the Bolus Herbarium, and moved to the Department of Chemistry three years later. At the time UCT had just acquired one of the first Nuclear Magnetic Resonance machines, and he learned how to use it. When his mentor Doug Graham left UCT, Hendricks stepped in. He studies electronics at the then Cape Technical College, and is now a senior technical officer, with his career representing an example of commitment and dedication.

Edward Lawrence joined UCT Libraries as a cleaner and was soon promoted to shelver. Over the years, he has built up an extensive knowledge of the libraries' collection, and is able to work in any subject area, his favourite being the humanities. Lawrence has seen many changes at the libraries, and has been involved in the moving of stock and helped to create the present environment. Recently, he has been stationed at the Health Sciences Library, with some reservations as it is situated right next to the mortuary. As the longest-serving member of the Stock Management Team, Lawrence has mentored many of his colleagues.

Guy Murcott's 35 years at UCT have been eventful. His mother was a long-serving member of the Department of Geology. As internal auditor, he has investigated a range of unusual and sometimes unpleasant fraud cases. Murcott has played many roles at UCT, at one time acting as head of the Finance Department. He enjoys tennis, and is a long-standing member of the Olympics, a well-known watering hole in Rondebosch for sports folks. For many years, Murcott has run a bar for admin staff in Bremner. In the mid 1970s, he was seconded to work with consultants who reviewed UCT's adminstration and planning processes.

Jan Ross joined UCT as a labourer in the Department of Electrical Engineering. He was transferred to the Refrigeration Department, where he was promoted to a semi-skilled position. Before the restructuring in the late 1990s, Ross joined the Maintenance Department. He currently supports the assistant manager in that department.

Robert Samuels joined the Faculty of Health Sciences in 1973, and a new generation of staff and students in Medical Biochemisty still benefit from his services and continued support. His contribution is characterised by his commitment, willingness to go beyond the call of duty, flexibility and passion. He is addicted to his regular squash games, and his greatest wish is to see his youngest daughter study at UCT.

Freddie Scotchman has made a substantial contribution to the Michaelis School of Fine Art as a workshop assistant in the photography section. He was highly rated in evaluations, consistently scoring between 75 and 100% for helpfulness and availability. Scotchman enjoyed meeting people in his daily tasks, the students that he watched mature, the variety of interactions that interpersonal relationships provided, and learning new things every day.

Harold Stuurman spent his first two years at UCT in the Department of Virology before moving to the Department of Anaesthesia. He is willing to take on new tasks, which he does with enthusiasm, making him a multi-talented member of staff. Besides his laboratory duties, he also organises and categorises books in his department library. He has become skilled at wresting copies of publications from various obscure journals, some of which the department library does not have, something greatly appreciated by the anaesthesia researchers.

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