UKZN Convocation - Shaping the University’s Present and Future
‘Your relationship with the University does not end on the day that you attend your Graduation ceremony.’
These were the words of UKZN alumnus Mr Msizi Khoza at UKZN’s webinar on the roles and responsibilities of alumni.
Khoza is a member of the UKZN Alumni Network. He serves on the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Convocation Executive and is the Principal: Structured Finance at the ABSA Group. He stressed that alumni should remain involved and invested with the University. ‘The weight of your qualification is intricately linked to how people view the University,’ he said. He encouraged alumni to ‘shape the University’s present and also its future.’
Convocation, which is UKZN’s largest constituency, is composed of graduates (from UKZN and its predecessors, the Universities of Natal and Durban-Westville), academic members of staff, various members of the University Executive (including the Vice-Chancellor and Principal and the Registrar), professors emeriti and retired academic employees.
Khoza noted that the Convocation Executive (Convex) includes members who represent alumni on Council, the University’s highest decision-making body. ‘Convex is the official face of Convocation,’ he said. He emphasised that Convex members are not merely elected to attend meetings but to implement programmes for their constituency and the wider University community.
It is vitally important to elect the right people to Convex. Khoza recommended that Convex members have the following qualities: passion, stewardship (wanting to leave something in a better state than you found it in), and diverse skills and viewpoints.
He added that the Convocation President should ‘take Convocation to the next level and make it a force for good at the University.’ He emphasised that the incumbent should be ethical and have integrity, adding, ‘We need somebody we can relate to who is a better version of ourselves.’
Host and UKZN alumnus Ms Thembalethu Shange said that the common misconception that Convex members should have served as members of the Student Representative Council is not true.
Khoza said that UJ’s Convex sets key goals to work towards during its term of office. These include addressing graduate unemployability and shaping programmes run by the University’s Alumni Office geared at leveraging the decision-making powers of Council to address matters of importance to alumni and students. Convex is also raising funds for a women-only first-year student residence to address gender-based violence and female students’ security concerns.
He added that, ‘Convocation needs to be an engine in the University's fundraising efforts’ and noted that Ivy League universities such as Harvard and Stanford are successful due to their alumni's financial contributions and life-long relationships.
Shange thanked Khoza for his ‘monumental insights’ into Convocation and acknowledged UKZN for providing the platform for the discussion. She encouraged all alumni to add value to the Institution and to vote in the upcoming Convocation elections.
Echoing Shange, UKZN’s Executive Director for Corporate Relations, Ms Normah Zondo urged alumni to stay connected to the Institution as they play valuable roles such as building and growing the University brand through their contributions in various spheres of society. She also appealed to the alumni community to attend the upcoming Convocation AGM, which will be held virtually on 19 November.
To view the dynamic and informative webinar, click here.
Words and image: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer