I must say, I’m particularly proud that I went to Rhodes University. I have such amazing memories of studying and partying there. It’s an unusual campus, away from the big cities, situated in a small, relatively isolated town called Grahamstown. What this means is that most students live in residences and there is a tremendous sense of community and vibe. The education was world-class and it’s where I studied journalism and “new media”, under Professor Guy Berger.
I found there was always a particularly innovative culture there. This was demonstrated by the fact that it was one of the first places in the country (the world too?) to get internet — and I was exposed to the web at quite an early stage (1994? 1995?). In fact, at one stage all international internet access for the country was routed through the university. (Yes that’s right: all early international internet access for the country went through Grahamstown, not Joburg or Cape Town). I remember surfing the web using Netscape 1.1. and using IRC chats (there was no Internet Explorer and no Google). One of the few and most popular websites on the web was the early Yahoo site (still at its academic url) and the official website of the whitehouse (now vastly different under Obama). One of my classmates in the new media class (although a year above me) was my former M&G colleague and good friend Vincent Maher, who also blogs among other things.
So what spurred this sentimental post was an alumni newsletter I received with some facts and figures that I thought I’d share, including that Rhodes is still actually the smallest university in South Africa. This year it anticipates the numbers could grow to 6,700 students. 8,800 applications were received, of which over 1,738 were accepted and registered during orientation week. Of these 8,800 applications, 6 200 were local students and 2 600 were international students.
Some facts and figures from Rhodes this year:
- 57% of our students are women.
- 24% of our students or almost 1 in 4 are postgraduates.
- Almost 23% of the students are international students from over 50 countries around the world.
- Rhodes has the most favourable academic staff to student ratio among South African universities.
- Best undergraduate pass rates and graduation rates in South Africa, and outstanding postgraduate success rates.
- Highest proportion among South African universities of academic staff with doctoral degrees.
- Best research output per academic staff member of any university in South Africa.
- Overall among South African universities we have one of the best track records for the winning of Rhodes scholarships.
- For 2009, 4 out of the 28 Mandela Rhodes scholarships were awarded to Rhodes University students.
- Almost 50% of all Rhodes’ students and the vast majority of new students, will live in the University’s 46 residences and be associated with its 10 halls, in which up to 9 000 meals will be served daily.
- Last year two new residences at a cost of R 32 million were opened to house an additional 146 students. A further two new residences housing 208 more students will open this year.