06 October 2020 | Story NONSINDISO QWABE | Photo Charl Devenish
Prof Pearl Sithole, Campus Vice-Principal: Qwaqwa Campus

An increase in post- and undergraduate qualifications, including ten doctoral and seven Master of Science qualifications, for graduates on the Qwaqwa Campus. These were some of the achievements celebrated on the second day of the UFS virtual graduation ceremonies hosted from 6 to 9 October 2020, with students from the Qwaqwa Campus receiving their qualifications. 

Highlighting graduates’ accomplishments, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, said the Qwaqwa Campus had an impressive milestone to celebrate – the significant increase in the number of undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications obtained in 2019. "This includes ten doctoral degrees. This is indeed a remarkable milestone for the campus, well done!"

The campus awarded qualifications to students in the Faculties of Economic and Management Sciences, the Humanities, Education, and Natural and Agricultural Sciences. The Faculties of Education and Natural and Agricultural Sciences had the highest number of postgraduate qualifications, 62 and 43 degrees respectively. 

Boasting a record number of 10 PhD qualifications, the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences had even more reason to celebrate, producing seven Master of Science graduates. Of the seven MSc students, five were women.
Celebrating these achievements, Prof Aliza le Roux, Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, said as the first female assistant dean of the faculty, she is impressed with the large number of women graduating with postgraduate degrees. "I am extremely proud of our Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences in Qwaqwa, because our science students are succeeding at some of the hardest degrees you can get. I love working on the Qwaqwa Campus, as the students here give me such hope for the future of science in South Africa," Prof Le Roux said.

One such student is Portia Mosolloane, who obtained her MSc degree in Zoology cum laude. Her dissertation is titled: Rapid detection of escherichia coli in treated and untreated wastewater and the impact of wastewater on riparian macroinvertebrate assemblages.

The following students received their honours and master’s degrees cum laude:

Mmabatho Sebusi – Bachelor of Education Honours with specialisation in Curriculum Studies. 
Matsubela Chakela – Bachelor of Education with specialisation in Management and Governance. 
Unathi Gwama – Bachelor of Education with specialisation in Management and Governance. 
Bongani Msibi – Bachelor of Education with specialisation in Management and Governance. 
Portia Mosolloane – Master of Science in Zoology
Dorah Muthee – Master of Science in Physics.

Virtual Graduation ceremony – Day 1

UFS celebrates the achievements of its newest alumni

"Perhaps this is not the graduation day you envisaged; however, like all graduations, it is a celebratory event that marks the culmination of much hard work, dedication, and commitment to the realisation of your dreams. Graduations are joyous events, occasions of celebration and achievement."

With these words, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Free State, Prof Francis Petersen, opened the first in the series of virtual graduation ceremonies taking place this week.
As a highlight on the university's calendar, 6 497 students from the three UFS campuses will be virtually awarded undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications over a period of four days as an alternative to the traditional ceremonies, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Prof Petersen said the virtual ceremonies did not erase the magnitude of the occasion. "This virtual graduation ceremony is about celebrating your success and achievements. A lot of sacrifices have been made for you to be able to graduate – whether financial, emotional, or in any other way."

Prof Petersen said that, along with the qualifications received, he hoped the graduates would leave the University of the Free State filled with values that would shape their journey as they entered the world of work and society as professionals – the values of critical inquiry, social responsiveness, and integrity.
"When we send out graduates from the University of the Free State, we would like to believe that we send out graduates with impeccable integrity who can make a massive difference in society."

His words were echoed by the university's new Chancellor, Prof Bonang Mohale, who began his term of office in June. Prof Mohale implored graduates to draw and build from their own humanity for the growth and development of all society, to work for a cause, and to make their presence felt in the world.

"To our newest alumni, congratulations. You have earned your academic qualifications, grown intellectually, and accomplished much more than when you first began your studies.”

“Through today's graduation, may I kindly implore all of us to rededicate ourselves to the unfinished task of attaining social justice, defending democracy, and being change agents," Prof Mohale said. 

Making the most of an unprecedented ceremony, scores of people took to the university's YouTube channel to identify and congratulate their loved ones and to celebrate their achievements.

The following students received the Dean's Medal in the various faculties:

Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences:
Jan Johannes van Niekerk – Bachelor of Accounting
Pierré Ludwig Koekemoer – Bachelor of Commerce Honours with specialisation in Marketing

Faculty of Education:
Martha Maria Koch – Bachelor of Education in Foundation Phase Teaching

Faculty of Health Sciences:
Venuschké Struwig – Bachelor of Medical Science with specialisation in Radiation Sciences (in respect of a three-year bachelor’s degree) 
Tamryn Wepener – Bachelor of Science in Dietetics (in respect of a four-year bachelor's degree)
Andrea Snyman – Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (in respect of a five-year bachelor’s degree)
Sakhele Lancelort Shiba – Bachelor of Medical Science Honours in Medical Physics

Faculty of the Humanities:
Lise Stofberg – Bachelor of Social Science majoring in Psychology and Sociology (in respect of a three-year bachelor’s degree)
Nina Cilliers – Bachelor of Music (in respect of a four-year bachelor's degree)
André Nel – Bachelor of Psychology Honours

Faculty of Law:
Deneska Theron – Bachelor of Laws

Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences:
Christoffel Jacobus de Lange – Bachelor of Science in Genetics and Zoology
Sune Hayward – Bachelor of Science in  Agriculture majoring in  Animal Sciences
Elize Ferreira – Bachelor of Science Honours Majoring in Mathematics and  Applied Mathematics

Congratulations to the class of 2019!
Watch the rest of the ceremonies here

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