Stellenbosch University (SU) has received one of its largest individual donations ever – an amount of R194.6 million, in the form of a bequest by the late DW (Dirk) Ackermann, an engineer by profession.
“An investment in the future of a new generation of Maties” is how Professor Wim de Villiers, rector and vice-chancellor of SU, describes the bequest. “It is the definitely one of the most significant donations the university has ever very received from one individual to date, and we are most appreciative.”
Mr Ackermann, who passed away some years ago, bequeathed R8.4 million to SU in the form of a share portfolio in 2006.
The value of these shares has in the meantime grown from R8.4 million to R194.6 million, and subject to the conditions of the bequest, the gift recently came to vest at full value.
The university will use this bequest to establish the DW Ackermann Bursary Fund to benefit deserving students in the electronic and electrical engineering disciplines, invest the capital accordingly, and use the annual income for bursaries, which are to be awarded in terms of the criteria set out in his will.
“The assumption that all SU students are from affluent backgrounds is incorrect. Substantially more than a third of our most recent graduates received some form of financial assistance during their studies,” added Professor De Villiers. “In 2000, 28% of Maties received some form of financial assistance.
“By 2014, this was up to 38% of our students. And last year, 41% of our students were from the so-called missing middle, i.e. from households with a combined income of R600 000 or less per annum.”