Rector and Vice-Chancellor


Welcome to the University of the Free State (UFS) – an excellent place for visitors, students, and staff. Browse through our website to see what we offer, or visit any of our three campuses for a proper taste of studying with us. Join the more than 37 800 students who already understand that “only a Kovsie knows the feeling”.
Since 1904, the UFS has grown steadily as a recognised university, with scholars who influence global growth. Today, we have several international partnerships that contribute to a rich body of knowledge and skills. After all, research and learning is what you expect of an excellent university.
 My vision is to grow a university that embraces diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence. Everybody must feel welcome and safe when they enter our learning and living space. It must be a place where both social and academic dreams are realised – an experience that lays a balanced foundation for whatever the future demands.
I would like to invite you to be a part of my vision for the UFS, whether you are a student, a staff member, or an external stakeholder. Let us listen to one another, and let us learn from that. But most importantly, let us do. Outcomes are the best measure of intent. The type of outcomes we need to see, are research outputs, graduates, cultural accomplishments, sport feats, community outreach, and leadership.

Prof Petersen
Prof Francis Petersen

I want the UFS to be of service and value to its staff, students, and community, and to act as an agent of diversity and inclusion in its immediate space, as well as beyond. I want it to be an environment that encourages tough-topic conversations – because that is the only way to truth and justice.

The UFS will continue to search for worthwhile local, national, and international research collaborations. Exposure to various researchers across the globe will help us to stay current, and respond to the quest for multidisciplinary programmes. Since people are the heartbeat of everything that happens at the UFS, social justice and human rights projects will remain a priority.
Thank you to everybody who already contributes to this magnificent institution. Together, you help a very big machine to run effortlessly – despite the higher-education challenges experienced nationwide. I am privileged to be part of such a skilled and knowledgeable team, devoted to the important role of higher education in our country, and the world.
Choosing the UFS will be one of the best decisions you make. From the moment that you become one of us, we will make your time here a memorable experience. And while you are with us, let us learn from you too.
You are welcome!
Prof Francis Petersen
Rector and Vice-Chancellor
University of the Free State

Other articles:


Inauguration of Prof Francis Petersen as 14th Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS (19 May 2017)

Pursuit of excellence a strong focus for incoming UFS Vice-Chancellor (6 February 2017)

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