UCT bids farewell to our retirees

11 November 2021 | From Kgethi

Dear colleagues and students

We have once again come to that time of the year when as a university we bid farewell to colleagues who are retiring this year after serving this institution with diligence and dedication.

It has been a tradition of the UCT community to celebrate our retirees through a fun-filled dinner hosted by the Chair of Council and myself to honour them for their service. The event is packed with entertainment, photo opportunities, speeches, and the sharing of those last warm hugs between colleagues. Given the circumstances, we are however not able to host such an event this year – as has been the case with many of our face-to-face events.

Although we won’t be able to physically celebrate our retirees, we have since last year introduced an alternative to thank them for their selfless contributions to our institution by creating a feature page on the UCT News website. The page includes the 86 retirees’ names, photos (where these have been provided), and their length of service so that the university community can celebrate everyone we are bidding farewell.

The retirees have served the university for a whopping 1 280 years collectively. We encourage you to reach out to them and share your memories, gratitude and well wishes with them for the next phase of their journey.

I, together with the Chair of Council Ms Babalwa Ngonyama, will share on the feature page our recorded messages we would have traditionally delivered at the dinner event.

I would also like to make a special mention of our three longest serving retirees: Ms Sigi Rich from Student Administration & Support Systems, Associate Professor David William Gammon from the Department of Chemistry and Mr Grant Willis from Student Housing & Residence Life, who have served the institution for 42.5, 42 and 40 years respectively.

I have personally visited some of the retirees at their homes to convey our gratitude, wish them well and hand deliver their gifts.

On behalf of the entire university community, I would like to thank all the retirees for their service to the university over the years. It is through their hard work and contributions that we are what we are now: one of the best universities globally, and the best in Africa in particular. We will always cherish their collective contributions that helped grow UCT to be an even better university.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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