UWC will celebrate with graduation ceremonies - virtually

The University of the Western Cape's graduation ceremonies will go ahead online for first time.
The University of the Western Cape's graduation ceremonies will go ahead online for first time.
Image: Supplied

The University of the Western Cape (UWC) said it would go ahead with its first graduation season for 2020 - but it would be an online virtual celebration.

The university's communications department said this “pioneering” method had garnered interest from other universities who had contacted UWC for tips.

“We have encouraged them to follow suit,” said the UWC communications team.

Many UWC graduates are first-generation tertiary education learners in their extended families, and for this reason the university had “opted to celebrate them using technology” because “graduations are life-changing milestones”.

Earlier this week, UWC's chancellor, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Dr Thabo Makgoba, was filmed constituting the ceremony and conferring the degrees. 

The names of all graduates from the various faculties will be listed in accordance with their original ceremony dates.

An address by acting rector and vice-chancellor Prof Vivienne Lawack was also filmed.

“You are graduating during a very special year in which we celebrate 60 years of being UWC. This is no small feat because we have travelled a long road since the university opened in 1960 with only 166 students,” Lawack said in her address.

Celebratory footage from previous years will be included to create a sense of festivity for the graduates.

This footage portrays traditions at the universities graduations, including singing and dancing in the quad outside the main hall, with cleaning staff joining the celebrations by creating a "red carpet" and guard of honour with their aprons.

Graduates also gather for photographs at a sculpture by artist David Hlongwane of a domestic worker celebrating her son's graduation.

The virtual graduation ceremony will take place on March 31 2020 at 9.30am and will be made available on various platforms, including the university's website.

UWC registrar Dr Nita Lawton-Misra said: “Having patiently waited for their graduation to take place in March/April, as initially planned, makes it more difficult to accept the possibility of a further postponement.”

Emmanuel Slinger, who will graduate as a master of commerce, said having a virtual graduation ceremony was welcomed during times of uncertainty.

“Even though we are facing a pandemic, I am glad that through the use of technology, we are still able to graduate and move forward,” he said.


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