The Research Commons and Leadership and Training Centre were officially opened on 14 November 2011.
The Research Commons is a space specifically set up for postgraduate students, and researchers, for research, dialogue and support in their work. The Leadership and Training Centre has been upgraded to include a mini-auditorium, group discussion facilities and new computer rooms.
According to the Deputy Director of Client Services and Operations, Hilda Kriel, the two facilities were created to stimulate an environment of learning. These projects were funded by UP and two grants were received from the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY).
During the opening ceremonies Robert Moropa, the Director of the Library, extended his thanks to the CCNY for their investment in UP. The CCNY Program Director of Higher Education and Libraries in Africa, Dr Omotade Aina, told Perdeby that UP was considered for the grants because “The University of Pretoria is one of the top universities in Africa.” He added that UP’s great leadership, strong reputation and large student body also caught the CCNY’s attention and these qualities secured the grants to help build the new facilities.
Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UP, Professor Cheryl de la Rey, expressed her delight about the opening of the new facility. She said that the Research Commons and Leadership and Training Centre will probably only start to be used extensively in 2012. She added that she would like the Research Commons to become a “home away from home” for postgraduate students. She also said that she believed the training centre would be well used by the university’s staff as well as other members of the community.
Kriel said that students are fortunate to be enrolled at a university of this calibre. She added that great care and thought have been put into these facilities and other services provided by the university. She said that even the colour palettes of the rooms have been specifically chosen to calm student’s nerves and promote maximum academic capabilities. “These facilities contribute to making students successful,” she said, “which is the main aim of the university.”