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Graduands are a beacon of hope in society

- Wits University

Professsor Keith Klugman honoured for his work in preventing infectious diseases and a Gold Medal is awarded to a champion in heritage preservation.

Wits graduations 2023

The graduation season runs from Monday, 11 December 2023 to Thursday, 14 December 2023, and will see 2 592 graduates crossing the stage, each representing a symbol of hope in society.

Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, Wits Vice-Chancellor and Principal extends his heartfelt congratulations to the graduands and their families.

“Congratulations on your remarkable achievement. Your journey at Wits has been one of resilience, dedication, and accomplishment. You represent hope in society, and as you stand on the threshold of new beginnings, may you continue to excel in all that you do. You have a responsibility to be active social citizens and to use your knowledge and expertise to become the future leaders of society."

Distinguished honours

Wits will award the University’s Gold Medal to Susan Hill Ward (in absentia) at the 14:30 graduation ceremony on Monday, 11 December 2023. The University’s Gold Medal is awarded as an expression of gratitude for outstanding achievements and endeavours. For over two decades, Ward has played a crucial role in preserving South Africa's San Rock Art heritage and has significantly contributed to recording threatened rock paintings. Working in collaboration with the Wits Rock Art Research Institute (RARI), she helped to establish the African Rock Art Digital Archive ensuring that this cultural knowledge is preserved for generations to come. Ward has provided invaluable support to the Institute through funding prizes, bursaries, and a post at RARI. Ward's dedication extends to facilitating exhibitions, funding handbooks and supporting global lectures, thereby leaving a lasting impact on heritage preservation. Read the citation.

Professor Keith Paul Klugman will be awarded an honorary doctorate during the Faculty of Health Science’s graduation ceremony at 13:30 on Thursday 14 December 2023. Klugman, a Wits alumnus is a distinguished scientist and global leader in infectious disease prevention. His work has contributed significantly to the reduction in infant mortality globally. He led the first vaccine trial of a capsular antigen Vi to prevent typhoid fever in schoolchildren in Mpumalanga. Today, this vaccine forms the basis of the success of the Vi conjugate vaccine rolled out globally to prevent typhoid fever. Klugman devoted his effort to the development of vaccines to prevent young children dying from pneumonia. His work includes the development of vaccines to combat pneumonia, notably leading the first phase III trial of a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in Africa. As a passionate advocate for equitable vaccine access, he has played key roles at Emory University, the Centres for Disease Control, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, receiving numerous awards for his multidisciplinary contributions to science. Read the citation.

Read about  Wits’ 2023  graduation ceremonies and the areas covered by PhD graduates.