Barend C. Lessing
Hall of Fame Class of 2004
Barend C. Lessing is acknowledged for his fundamental contributions made to the status and the academic capacity building in human resource management and distance education at RAU University and in South Africa. Dr. Lessing pioneered the establishment of Training Management as a new discipline in South Africa in the early 1980s. He has been the primary driving force in the implementation of extracurricular and distance education courses at RAU – an accomplishment that opened up high quality higher education opportunities to thousands of previously disadvantaged South African students.
Under his leadership, the Training Management discipline (currently referred to as Human Resources Development) was transformed into a widely-acknowledged and prestigious academic program with a variety of course offerings. He elevated the field of Human Resources Management at RAU from being viewed as a functional discipline within organizations, to that of a science worthy of academic study.
Praised for his initiative, intellectual capacity, and creativity, Lessing networked constructively as Founder and first Program Leader of the HRD Program with international colleagues as equals in order to find the most beneficial way of stimulating and promoting departmental initiatives and research. Despite the difficult political situation in South Africa and international boycotts in the early 1980s, he successfully succeeded in making contact with international academics for benchmarking purposes and to obtain relevant study material.
The Department flourished and experienced significant prosperity under his leadership and was acknowledged as one of the foremost Departments of Human Resource Management/Industrial Psychology in South Africa. Dr. Lessing is recognized in Who's Who in the World, and the Institute of People Management has presented him with the Presidential award in 1987 and the HRD Person of the Year award in 1991.
On August 1, 2003, he was chosen by RAU Management to lead the way as Project Leader to implement a new Performance Management System for the university. As Chair Person of the RAU Human Resources Task Team, he is also responsible for the human resource aspects of the incorporation and merging process (with three institutions), following a decision of the Minister of Education.
"Education is a companion which no future can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate it and no nepotism enslave."