Dr Jacobus Charles Bender (Koot) Kotze is the recipient of Stellenboch University's Chancellor's Medal for 2015, the highest honour the University bestows on a student. The medal was awarded to him in absentia on Tuesday 15 March at the Coetzenburg Centre.
The Chancellor's Medal is awarded annually to a final year or postgraduate student who has excelled.
Dr Kotze received his MB,ChB degree cum laude on 8 December 2015 with an average of 81,42% across his six years of study. He passed 29 of his 31 modules in this period with distinction. In the process he has already received numerous academic and merit awards: Academic colours from the Tygerberg Student Council; the Rector's Award for outstanding academic achievement as well as SU's merit bursary every year since 2010.
In 2015 Dr Kotze was recognised as the best student in Family Medicine; Primary Care; Community Health and Disabled Care; Forensic Medicine; Paediatric and Child Healthcare; the Clinical Skills domain and Urology. He received the award for the best MB,ChB dissertation and was named the best sixth year student.
Dr Kotze also performed outside of the classroom. He undertook research projects as co-author although this was not required for his academic programme. He has published in international journals and presented at international conferences. A number of his articles have also been published in the Mail & Guardian, thus making the science of medicine accessible to the general public. He was a founder member of the TB advocacy group TB Proof which received an international award in 2013, as well as an active member of the Safe Working Hours campaign. In 2015 he was the co-presenter of a workshop on undergraduate medical research of the South African Student Surgical Societies.
Apart from his academic work Dr Kotze was also a tutor and mentor for fellow students; as well as a volunteer and volunteer trainer for Maties Community Service. He was a writer for tMatie (Tygerberg Campus newspaper) and served on the sub-committee for intra-campus communication for two years. He was also a co-founder of the Meerhoff Men's serenade group. For this he received honorary colours for culture from the Tygerberg Student Council.