July 14, 2021

Rector’s eNews – 14 July 2021

/ Rector's eNews

Particularly over the course of the next weeks, we will be trying to create an opportunity for dialogue, either online or else in person, between successful Old Boys who have the capacity to inspire the current generation and your sons. To this end we have begun to contact Old Boys who have had interesting careers or who have done interesting things outside of their careers and to establish a group of “ambassadors” who are happy to spend time in conversation with current Michaelhouse boys.

Just today I have spoken to two “young Old Boys”, Ryan Anderson and Liam Furniss, who were a centre-pairing in the very successful Michaelhouse 1st XV of 2015. Both boys were in Founders and left Michaelhouse in 2015, the year in which Ryan was Senior Prefect. What makes this particularly interesting to me is that Ryan is bound for Cambridge, whilst Liam is to go up to Oxford both in September this year.

Moving on from Michaelhouse to UCT, Ryan began a Business Science Degree and then changed to BSc Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, before doing Honours in Statistics. He is now to study Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence, a one-year Master’s degree related to Artificial Intelligence at Cambridge where he will be in Magdalene College. Liam did a triple major in a Bachelor of Social Science Degree, also at UCT. He studied Psychology, English Literature and Economics and then took his Honours in English Literature. Over five years, Liam kept up his rugby, playing for UCT and, indeed, representing the UCT team at the University World Cup in Tokyo in 2019. He is now to read for his Master’s degree over two years at Kellogg College, Oxford, in an interdisciplinary study relating to literature and art.

So here are two recent Michaelhouse Old Boys, both Founders boys, a centre-pairing in rugby and firm friends who have followed similar, but different, paths through UCT and now on to Oxford and Cambridge.

I am giving advance notice that next Thursday, 22 July, I will chair an online conversation on Microsoft Teams with Liam Furniss and Ryan Anderson about their experiences in moving from Michaelhouse to UCT, on what basis they selected their degrees and established their fields of interest, their journey through university and how they have come to be bound for Oxford and Cambridge respectively. The conversation with them will begin at 6:00pm and is geared to last for about 45 minutes. It should be of interest to many in the A and B Block, as well as to younger boys who have been thinking about taking a degree at a top university internationally. I should imagine parents might also wish to be part of the interaction with them and you are very welcome to join in the conversation. I will send you a link in my eNews next Wednesday and simply wanted you to save the date for this if you would like to join the conversation.

Similarly, our Book Week, to be held next week from 19-22 July will feature some Old Boys who were due to visit the school but will now interact with our boys online. Amongst these are: Craig Higginson, a matric setwork author, who will “visit” two matric classes and give an address in our assembly time; Phiway Mbuyazi, an author and publisher who will give a talk next Monday evening, “visit” a classroom and address a combined audience; Steuart Pennington, CEO of SA Goodnews who is involved with community work and will give an address aimed at inspiring service; Peter Pickford, an eminent wildlife photographer who will spend some time with the C Block Life Sciences cohort and speak to a selected audience; Struan Douglas, a jazz musician and historian who will address our musicians and also a wider audience and Neil Jardine, an eminent former Rector and poet who will speak to a select audience.

As part of our Book Week, Murray Witherspoon, our Director of Admissions and Marketing, will present the Michaelhouse “Spud School Tour”. There will be more information and greater detail sent to your sons and I am mentioning this today as it would be helpful if you could prod them in the direction of engagement with this programme of varied and interesting speakers.

This coming Sunday is Mandela Day and, as such, a very important event nationally in South Africa. Our Chaplain, Chris Meyer, will allude to the notion of seeing the value in others in introducing a Mandela Day Challenge in the course of our service on Sunday morning.

Read the full Rector’s eNews here

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