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Prof Stephen Hendricks, who recently assumed the huge responsibility as the Dean: School of Oral Health Sciences & CEO of SMU Oral Health Hospital plans to take the school to greater heights by becoming the top go-to school in the continent. “We need to reposition and locate the school among the top institutions of higher learning of global oral health and dentistry. We must have a student exchange programme between SMU and the Harvard University Dental School, for both undergraduates and postgraduate students, because we do not want our students to be locally relevant, but globally competent. I also wish to tour other schools globally and market our School for the exchange programme so that when our students graduate, they then understand and can link up with their global scholars’ counterparts”, explained Prof Hendricks.

While lecturing, Prof Hendricks came across an inquisitive student, who questioned the commitment of high profile academics teaching at previously disadvantaged institutions. “Why do black academics like to go to historically white universities? Why don’t they come and teach where we are?” asked the student. The question changed Prof’s journey and before he knew it, he had joined SMU. “I came to a point where I reflected on the contributions I can make to historically young universities, and thought it was time to respond to the student’s question by joining SMU. As much as there were no funds or vacant posts at SMU, I took a non-salaried position until the Dean’s opportunity came through,” said Prof Hendricks.

He also emphasized the importance of the SMU community knowing the iconic struggle hero whom the University is named after. “If you don’t know who Sefako Makgatho is, then there is a problem”, said the newly appointed Dean. “You cannot be at this University and not have studied the history of Sefako Makgatho, his contribution to the trade union movements, education and in religion as a community activist,” emphasised Hendricks. His message to the students is to encourage them to utilise the opportunities given to them wisely. “You only have one chance, do your best, first time; work hard, and always ask for help when the need arises,” said Prof Hendricks.

Prof Hendricks qualifications comprises:

  • Doctorate in Medical Sciences (Public Health), Harvard University (USA).
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship (Community Dental Health), Harvard (USA).
  • Masters in Public Health, Harvard (USA).
  • Masters in Science, University of London in United Kingdom (UK).
  • Masters in Public Administration, Harvard (USA).
  • Diplomat in Dentistry, American Board of Dental Public Health.
  • Diploma Dental Public Health, Royal College of Surgeons in UK.
  • Registered as Specialist in Public Community Health with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.
  • Bachelor in Theology, Theological Education Extension College in SA.
  • Bachelor of Dental Surgery, the University of Western Cape (SA).