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Thompson Conferred Honorary Degree in Africa

  • Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    Thompson Conferred Honorary Degree in Africa

    Thompson Honorary DegreePRINCESS ANNE, MD - Following her recent address to the 973 September graduates of Walter Sisulu University for Technology & Science (WSU) in South Africa, Dr. Thelma B. Thompson was conferred the honorary doctoral degree of literature and philosophy.

    Encouraging the graduates' conviction that education is a continuous and life-long venture, Thompson assured the WSU graduates that they departed the university "with a consciousness of the past and the future and of the relatedness of the two," having not only studied  "principles, rules, strategies, philosophies and theories," but also gaining an awareness of "social problems, economic challenges, health challenges, educational needs and community priorities all related to [their] acquired knowledge base."

    The September graduates joined the 4,000 graduates who participated in the annual graduation ceremony held in May, four months earlier. Thompson this year held the distinction of being the only honorary degree nominee to receive a unanimous vote at three different levels of approval among the faculty, administration and the council.

    Named for Walter Max Utyate Sisulu, who is highly revered for his work alongside Nelson Mandela in reversing apartheid without bloodshed, the university is a major outcome of the restructuring of the South African higher education landscape in 2005. 

    WSU is the direct result of a merger of three major universities in Africa, namely Border Technikon, Eastern Cape Technikon and the University of Transkei.  Designated as a technological, scientific, innovative and responsive institution, students enroll in a vast number of degree programs situated in the following schools: medicine; nursing; allied health professions; accounting; economic and management sciences; governance; law; public relations, media and marketing; tourism and hospitality; initial professional education of teachers; continuing professional teacher development; mathematics; science and technology; social sciences and development studies; engineering; applied technology; mathematical and computational sciences; applied and environmental sciences; and information and communications technology.

    Thompson's last address at WSU centered on integrity within education, when she served as keynote speaker at the inauguration of the vice chancellor three years ago.  "World peace comes out of this work," said Thompson, who reserves a portion of her work in education for creating international linkages in accordance with the overarching goal of the University System of Maryland to provide for undergraduate students the international perspective necessary for success in a global economy.

    A cum laude graduate, Thompson holds the Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Howard University, where she was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society and received the coveted Terminal Fellowship Award.  In addition, Thompson holds a diploma from Bethlehem College, Jamaica, and a certificate from London University.  Guided by the Golden Rule and by character education which equips people for a life based in universally-respected values, Thompson believes in optimism, pragmatism and human potential for good.                                                                                                           


    Suzanne Waters Street, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355,  

    Photo: Dr. Thelma Thompson receives academic rega