How the Russel Botman Bursary Fund Came to be

The beginnings

Please allow me to start at the beginning. Prof Russel Botman, rector and vice chancellor of Stellenbosch University celebrated his 60th birthday on 18 October 2013. For his last birthday, Botman decided not to accept gifts. Instead he requested his guests donate to the newly established Russel Botman Bursary Fund. The office of alumni relations, under the leadership and management of Ms. Beverley Witten, set up the necessary processes to start, and she and her team were there to receive the first donations.

He saw a need and did something about it

Botman was so acutely aware of the great need for financial assistance for, particularly, students from low income families that would allow them to access higher education. On many platforms he quoted research that showed that talent is spread equally, therefore one cannot accept that fewer students from lower income families are able to take up places at institutions of higher learning. The Russel Botman Bursary Fund set out to address this need by offering bursary opportunities for deserving students who achieve success against so many odds.

So here we are, almost five years later

After having agreed with him that I will take responsibility for driving the process on his behalf, I now have to do it without him. He passed away on 28 June 2014, so what I do now I cannot truly claim to be doing in his name, because he can’t verify. I can only act according to what I knew about him, what he stood for, what he did and dreamt of, and take his legacy forward in this manner. Please donate to the Russel Botman Bursary Fund in honour of his many contributions and for the sake of future generations.