In a humbling and historic moment, Free State’s industrious Premier, Hon. Ace 
Magashule, was on the 29th September 2017, conferred with an Honorary Doctorate 
(Doctor of Philosophy: Honoris Causa) by the Bahcesehir University (BAU), in Instanbul, 
Turkey. The Free State Provincial Government is of the view that the honour bestowed 
upon the Premier by BAU University, was long overdue. We have long asserted that under 
the leadership of Hon. Premier Ace Magashule, the Free State has made an indelible 
mark as one of the foremost agents of human development across the globe.
Motivation for awarding an Honorary Doctorate
In his letter to the Hon. Premier sent on 27 July
2017, the Rector of BAU University, Prof. 
Dr. Senay Yalcin wrote; “It is with great enthusiasm that I write this letter to you. In honour 
of your service to the Free State and the Republic of South Africa, to your years of service 
in the African National Congress, working on behalf of the citizens of South Africa, and to 
your support for the youth of South Africa in achieving their educational dreams, I, on 
behalf of the Academic Senate of Bahcesehir University, Instanbul, Turkey, am very 
pleased to inform you that we would like to bestow upon you the title of Honorary Doctor 
(Honoris Causa)”.
“The title of Honorary Doctor is not lightly given, and it is due to your years of service to 
your country, your people, and especially the youth of South Africa that it has been 
decided to offer this award to you. In addition, your contributions to strengthening ties 
between South Africa and the Republic of Turkey are notable and appreciated. I can think 
of no better way to acknowledge your public service and your efforts to build relations 
between our countries”. Prof. Yalcin continued. 
Honorary Doctorate: Is there reason to celebrate?
An Honorary Doctorate, whilst different from an academic PhD in that it is not earned from 
academic achievement, is equally valuable in that it is an acknowledgement of generous 
and altruistic actions, or lifetime accomplishments that benefit a community, nation or humanity in general.
The first honorary degree awarded by an American university was an Honorary Doctor of 
Divinity Degree conferred by Harvard University in 1692 on its president, The Reverend 
Increase Mather. To this date, universities across the world still award honorary degrees 
to recognize exceptional activism and contribution by individuals and institutions alike. 
The Free State Provincial Government therefore unequivocally celebrates the awarding 
of the Honorary Doctorate to Hon. Premier Ace Magashule by BAU University. The Free 
State Provincial Government is convinced that Hon. Premier Magashule, a dedicated 
community activist, a disciplined pioneer of youth development, a distinguished servant 
of the people, and a selfless leader of the African National Congress and the people of 
South Africa, deserves this honour. We wish to celebrate the awarding of this honour to 
our Premier. 
About Bahcesehir University
Bahcesehir is a non-profit private education institution whose establishment was 
authorized by the Turkish National Assembly in 1998. The university prides itself with a 
wide range of international students, ranging from China, USA, France, Korea and many 
parts of Africa. In addition to its educational centres in Turkey, the university also has the 
following branches, amongst others, Berlin (Germany), Toronto Incubation Center
(Canada), Washington DC (USA), Hong Kong (China), Rome (Italy), Silicon Valley and Boston (both in USA).
The 19 years old higher-education institution has a selective admission policy based on 
entrance examinations. The young university is ranked very high in the world, ranked 
Category B by the University Ranking By Academic Performance (URAP). Bahcesehir, 
despite being only 19 years old, is ranked number 1 745, and ranks higher than most 
notable universities in the world, like University of North Florida (1 763), University of San 
Francisco (1859) and South Africa’s Durban University of Technology (1 924). 
In addition to the award conferred on the Hon. Premier, BAU University has already 
awarded Honorary Doctorates to some influential individuals like Dr. Oscar Arias 
Sanchez, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (1987), who is also the former President of Costa 
Rica (1986 – 1990 and 2006 – 2010). Another notable recipient of the Honorary Doctorate 
from BAU University is HRH Princess Nisreen El-Hashimite, the granddaughter of the first 
king of Iraq, who is also the founder of the World Women’s Health and Development 
The Free State Provincial Government is pleased that its Premier is honoured by such a 
reputable institution of higher learning. The Free State Provincial Government is 
convinced that this honour on the Hon. Premier is an acknowledgement, by a world-
renowned university, of the great work done by the Free State Provincial Government, 
under the visionary leadership of Hon. Premier Magashule, towards the development of our society, youth and humanity in general.
The Free State Provincial Government, as well as the people of the Free State in 
particular and South Africans in general, wishes to thank the leadership of BAU University 
for having recognized the monumental, selfless and diligent work of one of its esteemed 
sons, Hon. Premier Magashule. The Free State Provincial Government believes that, in 
becoming an honorary member of the university, Hon. Premier Magashule shall serve as 
an important link between South Africa and BAU University, and this shall serve as an 
important platform to continue the developmental work that has began.
The Free State Provincial Government congratulates Hon. Premier Magashule on his 
deserved accomplishment. We wish him to continue on his journey to serve the people 
as a whole with unparalleled selflessness. The Free State is proud of “Dr”. Elias 
Sekgobelo “Ace” Magashule. 
“This Honorary Doctorate is not for me as an individual. It is rather an acknowledgement 
of the good work done by all of us in government and in the African National Congress. 
We must continue to serve our people with utmost humility. I am extremely humbled to 
receive this honour”, Premier Magashule said.