"South Africa is facing numerous challenges, but the University of Cape Town has remained one of our beacons, one of the institutions which has proven to be not only solidly founded, but also able to embrace the transformations which are taking place in the country, on the continent and in the world, while remaining true to itself."
So said UCT Chancellor Graça Machel at a gathering in honour of the university's Chancellor's Circle of Donors – individuals who have given more than R250 000 to UCT over a five-year period.
The occasion provided an opportunity for Machel to meet the donors, and personally present them with their Chancellor's Circle pins.
In her remarks, Machel praised the work of the university's academic staff, through whose efforts, she says, UCT "[has] been able to keep [its] focus on teaching and research, while remaining connected with the demands of a developing South Africa".
She noted that "some of the best brains" in this country, in fields as diverse as engineering and health sciences, have been educated at UCT and are "out there representing the country and the continent".
Machel expressed the university's heartfelt appreciation of its donors, stating that UCT would never be able to achieve its standard of excellence without their loyal, and deliberate, support.
Those recognised included Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price, himself a Chancellor's Circle member, and former executive director of the Development and Alumni Department, Dr Jim McNamara, whom Price praised for "leading by example".
Donations to the university fund a broad range of initiatives on and off campus, from student bursaries to visiting academic fellowships, research initiatives, and community-based projects that make a significant social impact. In a symbolic sense, each gift to the university is a statement of faith in the institution – its leadership, its vision and its ability to execute its mission.
Before personally conferring a pin on each donor present, Machel reflected on the fact that an investment in the life of a young person cannot be measured. "You have contributed to thousands of young people, giving them the opportunity to be the best they can be in their lives, and for that you will be rewarded when every single one of them realise their potential."
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