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Academic Success Runs in the Carnelley Family

April 23, 2015

Mr Pieter Carnelley was awarded an LLB degree cum laude.

Anyone who doubts that academic excellence can run in a family should refer to the Carnelleys’ example down the years.

Latest in the line to provide concrete evidence of prowess is Mr Pieter Carnelley, son of the College of Law and Management Studies’ Dean of Research, Professor Marita Carnelley, who graduated with an LLB degree cum laude.

For Pieter, being named after his grandfather, renowned Afrikaans Author and Screenwriter, Dr Pieter Georg du Plessis, was a sign of things to come but it was his mother’s success as a Law Academic that influenced him to pursue a legal career.

The other choice was to follow in the footsteps of his great-grandfather, Thomas Carnelley, a Professor of Chemistry in Scotland, but that somehow did not appeal.

‘I was driving to Johannesburg when my mother phoned to tell me the good news,’ said Pieter. ‘I then phoned my brother, girlfriend and grandparents to break the news, we were all very excited. I am incredibly proud of the education I got from UKZN so I am much chuffed that I managed to pass cum laude.'

 ‘The entire university experience at UKZN - the variety of people, politics, religions and professors - test and challenge you in some way or another. I feel as if I have grown and matured here in a manner that would not have been possible at any other university. But if I have to choose certain people who made the biggest impact it would have to be Professor Hoctor as Academic, Researcher, Scholar and Mentor,’ said Pieter.

‘Others include Professor Tennant and Mr Lambert from the Department of Latin in Pietermaritzburg, who both kindled in me a passion for Latin, life in general and the Law; and my mother of course – for pure passion, determination and grit through good times and bad.’

As much as the academics from UKZN have made an impact on Pieter the same can be said about him as he used the knowledge gathered from his Latin Honours to tutor Law Academic, Professor Shannon Hoctor, when he was studying towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Latin at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Hoctor graduated with this qualification in 2013.

 Pieter is currently doing his articles at Webber Wentzel and is looking forward to an interesting and successful legal career.

 ‘I hope to be admitted as an Attorney and then sometime later do my masters overseas.  With a little bit of luck and hard work I’ll get there,’ said Pieter, with his usual infectious laugh.

 For Marita, having her last born graduate cum laude was a proud moment. ‘It is fantastic to see your children happy in their chosen careers, even if it is tough and challenging in the beginning. It is even better to know and experience them as adults - and to like the product. I am only sad that their father did not live to see the men they have become.’

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