Our Heritage

UFS Main building

With origins that can be traced back to 1904, the University of the Free State (UFS) is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in South Africa.

On 28 January 1904, the Grey College School in Bloemfontein was formally inaugurated, and lectures in the Humanities were presented to six students in a two-roomed building. In 1906, the name was changed to the Grey University College. A mere four years later, the college was declared an official educational institution in the fields of Arts and Sciences.

With rapid expansion, the institution changed its name in 1950 to become the University of the Orange Free State – reflecting the name of the province at the time – while gaining the status of an independent university. The influx of students necessitated the establishment of the Faculties of Law, Education, and Social Sciences (1945), followed by Economic and Administrative Sciences (1954), Agriculture (1958), Medicine (1969), and Theology (1980).

Entering the third millennium, the university initiated a period of renewal that became entrenched in its vision of reconciliation and human embrace as well as through its academic and support structures. In February 2001, the institution was renamed the University of the Free State, followed by the incorporation of the Qwaqwa Campus into the university’s fold in 2003, and that of the South Campus in 2004.

The University of the Free State now boasts a student body of more than 37 851 and seven faculties, representing a strong, internationally-recognised academic institution. Not only has the university grown into an institution marked by distinctiveness in teaching, research, and public scholarship, but also by connecting our teaching and research to the improvement of human lives.

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