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You represent our future - Crouch

- By Schalk Mouton

"Take a look at the person next you. You might be looking at the next Nobel Prize winner.”  That was a powerful message from Professor Andrew Crouch, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic who spoke at a Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management graduation ceremony at Wits University on Tuesday, 31 March 2015.

Crouch told the graduates that as Wits alumni, they join a "bunch of luminaries" including Nobel Prize winners, politicians and businessmen.  Former President Nelson Mandela, Naspers CEO Koos Bekker, mining magnate Patrice Motsepe, Discovery CEO Adrian Gore, Comrades legend Bruce Fordyce and Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer all attended Wits.

The university is one of the top 100 universities world-wide from which Fortune 500 CEOs graduate.

He said graduating from a university in South Africa is not only a huge privilege, but graduates also carry a responsibility as they represent the hopes of their families, their communities and their country.

"You are the future… You must believe in yourself and in your own greatness, and never be afraid of what you are capable of," he said.

Crouch, who presided over the ceremony also delivered an address to the Bachelor of Accounting Science, Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Economic Science graduates.

"You represent our future. You represent what is noble. You are a hope, not only to yourselves, but to your parents, families, and, possibly your village," he said.

Taking the graduates back over their schooling careers, Crouch painted the picture of just how privileged the graduates are, and how their perseverance through tough schooling careers has paid off.

"Going back 17 years ago, roughly about one million grade one learners started school with you. By grade 12, there were only about half of those left. About 500 000 dropped out for whatever reason," he said.

Of the half a million who wrote matric, about 300 000 to 350 000 passed, and of those, only about 100 000 achieved a matric with a Bachelor's pass, which enabled them to enter a university.

"Of those 100 000 students, only about 30 000 across the nation receive their first Bachelor's degree in the minimum time allowed," he said.

"So, of the one million that started out in grade one with you, only about 30 000 of that group graduated across the nation. Think of how special you are. But also, think of those who did not make it, who dropped out for whatever reason. Some refer to them as the Lost Generation. You are the fortunate few."