University of Johannesburg Confers Honorary Doctorate on President Barack Obama – Ambassador Patrick Gaspard Accepts the Degree on the President’s Beh

University of Johannesburg Vice-Chancellor Prof. Ihron Rensburg (left) and U.S. Ambassador Patrick Gaspard (right) at the graduation ceremony in which UJ conferred an honorary doctorate degree on President Barack Obama
University of Johannesburg Vice-Chancellor Prof. Ihron Rensburg (left) and U.S. Ambassador Patrick Gaspard (right) at the graduation ceremony in which UJ conferred an honorary doctorate degree on President Barack Obama

The University of Johannesburg has conferred an honorary doctorate on President Obama, with UJ Vice Chancellor Prof. Ihron Rensburg saying, “President Obama has demonstrated distinguished social and intellectual achievement related to the University’s vision, mission, values and strategic goals and is thus a worthy recipient of the degree Doctor Legum (Doctor of Laws), honoris causa.”  In accepting the degree on behalf of the President, U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard said, “It is the greatest privilege to join you on this unique occasion on behalf of my

Ambassador Gaspard (2nd from right) and his wife, Ms. Raina Washington (right), Consul General Earl Miller (left) with University of Johannesburg Vice-Chancellor Prof. Ihron Rensburg (center) and the Faculty of Law.
Ambassador Gaspard (2nd from right) and his wife, Ms. Raina Washington (right), Consul General Earl Miller (left) with University of Johannesburg Vice-Chancellor Prof. Ihron Rensburg (center) and the Faculty of Law.

friend and leader, President Barack Obama, in order to receive this extraordinary honor which you have seen fit to bestow upon him.”  The degree conferral was part of the graduation ceremony for UJ Law Faculty in which over 200 graduates crossed the stage, hard-won degree in hand.  Ambassador Gaspard addressed the graduates in a commencement address, challenging them to make the most of their new qualification, saying “What is in your hands, graduates?  Remember, in my country, Rosa Parks changed the world with nothing but a bus ticket in her hand.  In Sharpeville, the world came to a halt because of young people who had nothing but burning passbooks in their hands.  Surely you have more power in your hands. You are the most powerful generation that this world has ever known.”      

Read Ambassador Gaspard’s complete address here.