Six to receive UCT honorary degrees in 2008

17 March 2008

UCT will award six honorary degrees this year, presenting these at its June and December graduations. The recipients will be Advocate George Bizos, Dr Lillian Cingo, Professor Jonathan Dorfan, Dr Eric Goemaere, Professor Claire Palley and Lord Leonard Wolfson.

Bizos will receive the degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) honoris causa.

Bizos acted as an advocate in the 1950s for Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo's law firm, and had a part in all the major trials of the 50-year-long struggle against apartheid.

He is credited with helping craft Mandela's impassioned plea to the court in the famous Rivonia Trial, said to have swayed the judge from passing the death sentence on Mandela.

Cingo will be presented with a Doctor of Social Science degree, honoris causa. Born in 1938, Cingo is a dedicated health professional who has integrated her vocation in nursing with an ever increasing focus on development, especially among isolated communities.

Dorfan will receive the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa. Dorfan spearheaded the historical transition of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Centre, traditionally a single-purpose particle physics research centre. Under Dorfan, the SLAC has branched out into many other areas, and its largest programme in 2009 will be in photon science.

Goemaere will receive a Doctor of Science (Med) degree, honoris causa. Among his many achievements, Goemaere initiated the first comprehensive HIV treatment programme in the primary care public health sector in Khayelitsha, funded by Médecins Sans Frontieres, through which he forged strong links with UCT.

UCT graduate Palley, to receive a Doctor of Laws (LLD) honoris causa, played a pioneering role for women in the UK, becoming the first woman to be named a professor of law and the first woman dean of a law school there. Her writings are concerned with constitutional and human rights issues.

Wolfson will be awarded the degree of Doctor of Science (DSc) honoris causa. He is the founding trustee and current chairperson of the Wolfson Foundation, which has made major contributions to higher education and medical and scientific research in the UK, Israel and South Africa.

"These honorary recipients have contributed and continue to contribute selflessly to the building of better societies in the social and economic areas, as well as areas of academia," said Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Njabulo S Ndebele. "With these awards, we not only recognise them but applaud them for their exemplary and sterling contributions."

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