No rest as former nurse Daphne, 72, receives PhD

Family thronged around Daphne Murray, 72, who beamed with delight yesterday at the Abbotsford Christian Centre after being capped with a PhD by the University of Fort Hare. The party included (clockwise, from back left) two sons Tim and Manwell Wilson, her daughter-in-law Char nnee Wilson, two more sons Alliston and Ricardo Wilson, her husband William Murray and her daughter Amanda Wilson
Family thronged around Daphne Murray, 72, who beamed with delight yesterday at the Abbotsford Christian Centre after being capped with a PhD by the University of Fort Hare. The party included (clockwise, from back left) two sons Tim and Manwell Wilson, her daughter-in-law Char nnee Wilson, two more sons Alliston and Ricardo Wilson, her husband William Murray and her daughter Amanda Wilson
Image: Michael Pinyana

Applause filled the air on Friday as 72-year-old former ward nurse Daphne Murray received her doctorate from the University of Fort Hare.

Graduands and their families and friends beamed with delight as they watched Murray being capped at the Abbotsford Christian Centre.

She studied for her PhD after retiring as hospital director at the Cecilia Makiwana Hospital in 2007.

The university held its second graduation ceremony in East London where it is expected to cap more than 2 900 graduates. Mqanduli-born Murray said obtaining her doctorate had never been part of any of her plans, but had been carved out for her by destiny.

She felt she had reached the ceiling in her career and had never envisioned herself becoming an academic.

“I was happy to go and enjoy my retirement, and then I was called by the University of Fort Hare to come and assist with the record-keeping of students in 2009.

“The university was facing losing the nursing department and the duties grew on me. I got inspired to teach nursing management and that was when I also decided to study.”

The brand new doctor of philosophy in health sciences was accompanied by her daughter, Amanda Wilson, and sons Manwell, Ricardo, Alleston, and Tim Wilson, husband William and daughter-inlaw Charnee Wilson.

Her son Manwell and his wife, Charnee, arrived yesterday morning from London to surprise Murray as she came off the stage.

Murray’s thesis was on the development of a model of support for divorced professional nurses in the Eastern Cape and South Africa.

She said her study had been inspired with what she had seen in wards as a nurse where nurses were going through personal struggles, but had to be strong and healthy in order to nurse patients.

UFH will confer 88 PhDs this graduation season. Murray is the oldest recipient in the group.

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