1. The Council for Higher Education (CHE) appointed Professor Yunus Ballim (BSc Eng Civil 1981, MSc Eng Civil 1983, PhD Civil 1994) as Chairman of the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) from April 2012 until March 2015. The HEQC, which is the CHE’s only permanent committee, is responsible for quality promotion and quality assurance in higher education. It audits the quality assurance mechanisms of higher education institutions and accredits higher education programmes. Ballim is Vice-Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at Wits University.
2. The director of the Malaria Entomology Research Unit, Professor Maureen Coetzee (MSc 1982, PhD Science 1987), was one of seven scientists recognised at the Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards held in Ethiopia on 14 December 2011. These awards honour scientific achievement and contributions through science to Africa’s socio-economic development. Coetzee’s award acknowledged her malaria research, including insecticide resistance and novel ways of controlling the disease. Furthermore, the Royal Society of South Africa elected the Wits benefactor as a Fellow on 7 December 2011. Earlier in 2011, entomologists at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC named a mosquito subgenus after Coetzee, in a paper entitled Coetzeemyia, a new subgenus of Aedes.
3. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) named water governance specialist Dr Owen Horwood (BSc 2001, BSc Hons 2002, MSc 2003) as one of the world’s outstanding young scientists. The BMBF, which supports research on sustainable development, awarded 20 “Green Talents” from 331 applicants, at a ceremony in Berlin on 15 December 2011. Horwood, 32, a former Rhodes Scholar (South Africa-at-large, 2003) also holds Masters degrees in environmental change and management and in water science from Oxford University. His PhD thesis addressed the challenges of implementing South Africa’s National Water Resource Strategy within the context of the new National Water Act. BMBF judges said Horwood “combines the ability to address complex scientific problems with research focused on problem-solving”.
4. Western Cape Premier Helen Zille (BA, PDE 1974) presented Wits benefactor Professor Peter Jacobs (MBBCh 1959, PhD Medicine 1974) with an award at an event commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Sunflower Fund for his role in introducing bone marrow transplantation to South Africa. Furthermore, the American College of Physicians elected Jacobs a Master on 11 October 2011. Jacobs is Professor Extraordinaire in Haematological Pathology at Stellenbosch University.
5. Yumna Laher (BA 2010) is the only 2012 Mandela Rhodes Scholar from Wits University. This internationally sought-after postgraduate bursary aims to build leadership excellence in Africa and enables citizens of African countries to study at South African institutions. Mandela Rhodes Scholars are individuals aged 30 or younger who “reflect in their character a commitment to the principles of education, reconciliation, leadership and entrepreneurship” and who exhibit “the moral force of character and instinct to lead”. Laher, 21, will read for a Masters in International Relations at Wits. She received certificates of merit and first class every year of her undergraduate degree and she won the Lipschitz Family Prize in 2009. A St Mary’s School matriculant, Laher is the only person to date to whom the school has awarded an honours blazer in recognition of academic, cultural and service achievements.
6. Newspaper publisher Independent News and Media South Africa appointed Moshoeshoe Monare (BA Hons 2003) as editor of The Sunday Independent on 6 February 2012. Previously an executive editor on The Star, Monare is “one of the more impressive young editors in South African journalism”, according to Independent News Chief Executive Tony Howard. Howard was “pleased” with the appointment of Jovial Rantao (BA Hons 2008), formerly deputy editor of The Star and now editor of the Sunday Tribune in KwaZulu-Natal. Rantao joined the group as a cub reporter, rising through the ranks and serving an editorial apprenticeship at The Star in preparation for editing the Tribune. The appointments were part of the group’s drive to appoint talented journalists into senior editorial roles on selected established titles.
7. A Professor of Internal Medicine and Pathology at the University of Cincinnati, Wits benefactor Dr Ronald Sacher (BSc 1966, MBBCh 1969, DTM&H 1973) was appointed to the Council of the American Clinical and Climatological Association (ACCA) for four years on 2 November 2011. Director of the Hoxworth Blood Centre since 2000, Sacher leads pioneering research in transfusion and regenerative medicine. The ACCA lauds him as an internationally recognised leader in the field of haematology. Established in 1884, the ACCA undertakes the clinical study of disease and internal medicine. ACCA membership election is based on leadership and excellence.
8. The University of Glasgow in Scotland appointed hypertension specialist Professor Rhian Touyz (BSc 1980, BSc Hons 1981, MBBCh 1984, MSc Medicine 1986, PhD Medicine 1992) as Director of the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences in the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences. Touyz previously held the Canada Research Chair in Hypertension at the Kidney Research Centre, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. An eminent alumna who participated in the Wits Faculty of Health Sciences’ Alumni Diaspora Programme in 2010, Touyz is the 2012 Robert M Berne Distinguished Lecturer of the American Physiological Society. She has won numerous academic and research awards, including the Young Investigator Awards from the American, Canadian and Quebec societies of hypertension. She is the 2012 editor-in-chief of Clinical Science.