/ 11 March 2024

Rassie Erasmus to receive honorary doctorate from North-West University

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Rugby World Cup-winning coach and South African director of rugby, Johan “Rassie” Erasmus, is to be awarded an honorary doctorate by the North-West University (NWU). The NWU Council approved the decision during their ordinary meeting on Thursday, 16 November 2023. The request for the awarding of the degree Philosophiae Doctor (Honoris Causa), in the discipline Coaching Science, was made by the NWU’s Faculty of Health Sciences.

The honorary doctorate will be bestowed on Erasmus in recognition of his innovative and exceptional management of the Springboks during their victorious 2019 and 2023 IRB World Cup campaigns, his significant standing in the international rugby coaching arena, his strong drive and focus on diversity and inclusion, and his commitment to social responsibility.

In addition to his visionary leadership, he has also shown an unwavering commitment to the Sport Transformation Charter – which is included in the Strategic Plan of the Department of Sport and Recreation – that has resulted in a systematic change in the development of talent and skills across the national rugby spectrum.

Erasmus has shown himself to be a nation builder of whom the country can be proud.

“Rassie embodies the principles of resilience, determination and teamwork that we at the North-West University hold dear in our educational mission. His contributions to South Africa, both as a rugby strategist and as a nation builder, serve as a shining example of what can be achieved when passion, dedication and visionary leadership come together. This esteemed recognition is not only well deserved, but also a testament to the remarkable contributions and exceptional impact Rassie has made in the field of sport and innovative sports management,” said Bert Sorgdrager, Council chairperson.

“His commitment to inclusivity and transformation in sport has not only revitalised rugby but has served as a powerful symbol of reconciliation and unity in a nation with a complex history. Under his guidance, the Springboks not only achieved rugby greatness, but also became a unifying force, bringing together people of all backgrounds and beliefs. His emphasis on teamwork, discipline and dedication has resonated far beyond the sports arena, offering life lessons that inspire not only aspiring athletes, but also individuals in their everyday lives. He has meaningfully used his sphere of influence to advocate for social change, fostering an environment in which diversity and inclusivity are celebrated, and differences are seen as strengths rather than weaknesses,” Sorgdrager concluded.

On 7 March 2024, Erasmus, with much appreciation, accepted the honour bestowed on him. The ceremony is due to take place on the Potchefstroom Campus of the NWU during the coming months. Full details will be communicated.