7 years 4 months on …
Today, I accompanied Phillip to a welcoming session for 7000 odd first year students at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) here in Port Elizabeth.
He was in his shorts, t-shirt and slops and I in my jeans, casual shirt and track shoes.
It took me back some 38 years when I started as a first year student at Stellenbosch University in 1976.
I recall my mother driving me to Stellenbosch and joining us at a welcoming dinner for first year students and their parents. I was then wearing a jacket and tie and she was wearing a hat – such was the auspiciousness of the occassion!
I was then the first in the Lunnon lineage to attend a University – part of a select few. If I remember correctly from the speeches today, we were told that from 25 000 applicants only 7000 made the grade this year at NMMU.
So, whatever the dress and wherever the University, it remains an auspicious occasion and a tremendous privilege to be able to attend an institution of higher learning.
It carries with it tremendous responsibilities and awesome opportunities to obtain the richest possible educational experience.
Arguably, the core purpose of a university is knowledge production and its use to make a difference in society.
Good luck, Phillip, the next generation! I must admit a tinge of jealousy today and I wish it were me doing it all over again. With the knowledge I have now, I would do it differently, or would I …?
Dare I hope to be here still when you graduate in 2017 with a B.Eng degree?