Prof Leon Jackson delivers inaugural address
As he stood behind the podium on the night of Thursday 15 October, Professor Leon Jackson of the Potchefstroom Business School at the North-West University surveyed those in attendance at the Senate Hall. It was a typical early summer night.
Outside the hot but not yet scorching day was slowly morphing into a lovely, temperate evening. He smiled more inward than outward before starting his inaugural address. He smiled, because that is what one does when reflecting on the trials and tribulations of almost half a century and for the goal he achieved that many would have thought, given his childhood, was never in his reach.
His eyes found those of his wife Sharon, the mother of his three daughters Shanice, Leonie, Chelsea and son Leon, Jr. She gave him a knowing look, one filled with love and pride.
He then tapped the sheets of paper held loosely in his hands softly on the podium to get each one symmetrical to the other. The top one read: The mediating role of personal resources in the relationship between transformational leadership and employee attitude.
Jackson proceeded to that thank his loved ones for their unwavering support and his colleagues, those both there and not, for helping him reach this point in his career.
It was 49 years ago when the late Benjamin and Lorna Jackson laid their eyes on their first son, Leon. It was 47 years ago when young Leon and his family were forcibly removed from their home of Willem Klopperville in Potchefstroom to Promosa. He attended Primosa Primary and Secondary, refusing that his impoverished surroundings dull a fire that would burn as bright as his ambitions, and his ambitions only, would allow.
He matriculated in 1994 and the enrolled for a National Teachers’ Diploma at the then Rand College of Education (RCE) in Johannesburg. He obtained the National Senior Primary Education Diploma and then returned to Promosa where he taught at Promosa Secondary School until 1999 when he accepted a position as a lecturer at the then Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (PU for CHE).
All his under and post graduate courses were completed on a part-time basis. He enrolled for a BA (Human Resource Management and Development) at the PU for CHE before he enrolled for the Honours degree in Industrial Psychology - also from PU for CHE. Based upon the advice from one of his lecturers, he enrolled for an MBA which he obtained in 1999. He was a member of the group that was also awarded the ‘Best Performing MBA Group’ trophy over three years.
After accepting the position as lecturer at the PU for CHE, 2000, he enrolled for his MA in Industrial Psychology which he obtained in 2001. After completion of his internship he registered with the Health Profession Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as an Industrial Psychologist in 2002. He also enrolled for his PhD in Industrial Psychology in 2002 which he obtained in 2004.
After joining the School of Human Resource Sciences as a lecturer in 2000, he soon became programme manager for Industrial Psychology and school director thereafter.
His accolades are numerous, his acclaim and praise universal. For as Prof Leon Jackson stood on that podium on the night of 15 October, he personified more than just a brilliant academic, more than just a hardworking colleague. He personified the indomitable spirit of those unwilling to let their circumstances dictate their future.