The highest non-academic award was conferred on Rev Erlo Stegen at a North-West University ceremony for doctoral students on 23 May 2013. The dean of the education faculty, Prof Robert Balfour, read the following (summarised):
“Rev Stegen received the Chancellor’s Medal for his humanitarian work among poor rural communities.Rev Stegen was born in 1935 on the family farm, Paardefontein, and had been a travelling evangelist since the 1950s up to 1970 when he formed the Kwasizabantu missionary station. This missionary station is situated on a farm of 550 hectares between Greytown and Stanger in KwaZulu-Natal, and is currently the largest missionary station in Africa. Kwasizabantu is a non-denominational missionary station and reaches out to people of all racial and cultural groups for ministration of faith, spiritual guidance, educational support and counselling. Rev Stegen’s achievements also reach beyond the missionary field. He established, amongst others, the Thabitha School for Adults – a literacy centre for adults – and the Domino Servite School, a combined school with 300 learners.In addition to the aforementioned, he also founded the Cedar College of Education in 1994 – an off-campus training facility for teachers that is affiliated with the Potchefstroom Campus of the NWU, where the Faculty of Educational Sciences annually presents BEd and HonsBEd degrees and diplomas.Rev Stegen is also well-known for his part in the development of poor rural communities by means of agricultural and community development projects.”
The previous evening there was a special finger supper for Rev Stegen and members of the department of Education. After the graduation ceremony the next day there was a full-course lunch for Rev Stegen and the doctoral graduates. A 6 minute video was shown by the NWU media department about Rev Stegen and his accomplishments. It is mostly in Afrikaans and has been uploaded by the university onto YouTube and can also be viewed here below.
An opportunity was then given to Rev Stegen to respond and he gave a wonderful message praising God for all that God has done. He also thanked his co-workers and North-West University (in particular, Prof Barry Richter) for all they have done for him and Cedar College of Education.