29 October 2018


Prof Stef Coetzee, former Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS), passed away in the Mediclinic Cape Gate on Saturday 27 October 2018. 

Prof Coetzee assumed duty as the 11th Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS on 1 April 1997. He will be remembered for his drive to promote transformation at the UFS. During his time as Rector and Vice-Chancellor, he initiated a revitalisation process (turnaround strategy) which was ultimately finalised by his successor, Prof Frederick Fourie.

Among others, he established a Broad Transformation Forum (BTF) and transformation office to draft a new political framework for the UFS. He strived to manage the university as a business enterprise and was focused on developing the academy in an entrepreneurial manner. His legacy includes the establishment of the BTF, the revitalisation process (turnaround strategy), academic revitalisation, growing student numbers, and increased research outputs. He stepped down as Rector at the end of 2002.

“The turnaround strategy initiated by Prof Coetzee during his term as Rector and Vice-Chancellor is still evident today in the management approach of the UFS. On behalf of the executive management and the university community, I wish his family, relatives, and former colleagues all the best during this difficult and sad time. I hope that they will find comfort in his significant contribution to various sectors in the country – especially at the UFS,” said Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

Prof Stef Coetzee obtained his MA degree in Economics at Stellenbosch University in 1973, and a DPhil in Development Economics at the University of the Free State (UFS) in 1980. He is a former Executive Officer of the Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut and was also associated with Unisa and the North-West University


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