It's not only the business end of a disrupted academic year that's absorbed outgoing Registrar Hugh Amoore in the past weeks, but the culmination of a 42-year career at UCT. Amoore retires in December.
Such has been Registrar Hugh Amoore's influence at UCT that the series of farewells was only just beginning in November.
The Registrar's Office kicked off with a surprise breakfast at Graça Machel Hall and the team wore bowties, fondly mimicking the sartorial predilection of their boss.
Here registrar-designate Royston Pillay and deputy registrar Dr Karen van Heerden were among those who touched on highlights of Amoore's career.
Pillay lauded Amoore's history of service to the institution (with 27 years as registrar), “surely a record in the country as the longest-serving registrar, a record I doubt will be broken – and certainly not by me!”.
His dedication and long hours were legendary, said Van Heerden, and referred to a whiteboard on wheels that Amoore kept in his office to record his to-do list. At the bottom of this lengthy catalogue of responsibilities his eight-year-old daughter, Ruth, had written: “Dad, come home. Now!”
Van Heerden added: “There's little in higher education that Hugh has not touched.”
At the Senate meeting a few days before, Professor Hugh Corder, from the law faculty, rose to support a proposal to bestow on Amoore the title Registrar Emeritus. The appellation is unusual.
Amoore explained: “Some years ago Senate and Council agreed to the possibility of electing what are termed 'academic officers' by which was intended officers who are not academic staff but whose work is related to the academic project to emeritus status. Joan Rapp was elected Librarian Emeritus in terms of this provision. I am the second person.”
In his address to Senate, Corder added: “In the intervening 28 years, I have observed HTA [Hugh Theodore Amoore] in operation in more committees and other events than I care to remember, but probably only about 5% of such meetings for him.
“Most notably at Senate, when some VCs and members of Senate might have been tempted to cut procedural corners, the Registrar has always brought us quietly and calmly back to the proper process; although there have been some occasions when his frustrations have shown in the colour of his face, though not in the colour of his language!
“So Hugh Amoore has counseled, cajoled and corrected countless committee chairs over the decades, even before his elevation to the Registrarship…
[Addressing Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price] “VC, over the decades I have observed that HTA, instantly recognisable by his bowties, has stood steadfast and committed to fair process, to rule and to law, sometimes to a fault; and has been utterly respectful of every person with whom he interacts, even under the most appallingly provocative and disrespectful circumstances, such as we saw in a meeting of this body just over 10 days ago.
“He has been a courageous and principled servant and leader of this university, of the academic project, of higher education nationally and beyond, and of the cause of good governance and democracy in this city and country … we are utterly indebted to him.”
Story by Helen Swingler. Photo by Michael Hammond.
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