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On Friday, 21 September 2018, the University of Venda (Univen) honoured Prof Richard Littleton Guerrant with a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health. Following the conferment of his honorary doctorate which took place during Univen September Graduation ceremony at the University Auditorium, he presented his acceptance speech through video link. 

Prof Guerrant delivering his acceptance speech through video during the Graduation ceremony. 

Through a video that was played during the Graduation ceremony, Prof Guerrant thanked Univen for this tremendous honour. He said this honour is incredibly special one for him because it grows out of the outstanding science and field collaborations of both universities that have brought joy to him personally and to the University of Virginia at large. 

Univen is privileged to have worked with Prof Guerrant for the past 14 years. The research work has been mainly community-based, with many junior staff and postgraduate students being mentored and trained. Testimony of the positive impact of Prof Guerrant’s association with the four departments comprising the School of Health Sciences at Univen includes increased research output, with 

most staff members publishing in more than eight highly reputable international journals. Vhembe District, in particular Thulamela and the then Mutale Local Municipalities, have benefitted from his leadership of many research projects conducted in communities located in them. Eight of the 100 international research fellows that he mentored so far are from Univen. He championed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Univen and UVA. Univen is proud to be associated with this scholar with a huge international footprint and hope that his academic leadership will continue to assist Univen to put permanent footprints in teaching and learning, research and innovation, and community engaged praxis. 

Prof Richard Littleton Guerrant was born in Roanoke, Virginia in the United States of America. He graduated in medicine from the University of Virginia (UVA) in the School of Medicine. Prof Guerrant’s research focuses on recognition, diagnosis, pathogenesis, impact and control of enteric infections and their consequences. His work with researchers from Brazil has shown that emerging pathogens are the leading cause of persistent diarrhea. Over the years, Prof Guerrant’s work has received numerous awards, for example Smadel, Abbott and Mentor awards from the Infectious Diseases Society of America; Professor Honoris Causa at the University of Fortaleza in Ceara, Brazil; Emilio Ribas medal of the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases; and the Highest Honour of the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 

Prof Guerrant developed innovative approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of common gastrointestinal illnesses which are of significant importance and relevance to communities regarded as of low socio-economic status. The more than 500 scientific and clinical articles, reviews, and book chapters, and editing of 6 books so far demonstrate that he is a hard worker of note. Currently, he is the Thomas H. Hunter Professor of International Health at UVA. 

A video of Prof Guerrant playing during the Graduation ceremony 

Issued by: 

Department of Communications & Marketing 

University of Venda 
Tel: (015) 962 8525 
Date: 26 September 2018 

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