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03 July 2018 Photo Johan Roux and Charl Devenish
UFS June graduation ceremonies inspire South Africa
Some of the moments during the 2018 June Graduation Ceremonies on the Bloemfontein Campus.

 Photo Gallery

The University of the Free State conferred about 1 900 diplomas, ACE/ACT certificates, and master’s and doctoral degrees across all seven faculties at this year’s June graduation ceremonies.

South Africa is in awe of UFS graduates who are driven by their passion for academy despite adverse circumstances, with a single goal in mind – achieving academic excellence and advancing their lives to a state of elevation.

From delivering five PhDs in the Department of Inorganic Chemistry, to securing 48 master’s degrees and 1 PhD in Sustainable Agriculture, to conferring a Master of Divinity degree cum laude to 75-year-old Dr Hanneke Meyer, the UFS June 2018 graduation ceremonies have proven that anything is possible once you set your mind to it.

UFS Chancellor, Dr Khotso Mokhele, urged that, “We need to do everything in our power to re-elevate the teaching profession to where it should be.”

Prem Govender, guest speaker at the School of Financial Planning Law’s graduation on Wednesday 27 June 2018, encouraged graduates to exercise integrity in their future professional lives, to recognise those who enabled them to succeed, and to strive to be beacons of hope in the lives of others.  “Second to the medical profession, financial planning is essential, as it ensures the financial wellbeing of society,” she said.
 
Advanced Certificates in Education and Teaching were awarded to our South Campus for Open Distance Learning. Greg van Schalkwyk, Principal of the Cape Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology, reviewed technological changes across the past three centuries, highlighting that teachers are preparing students for the 21st century, the Information Age, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He urged teachers to follow their students' example, saying: "Never stop studying. My students keep telling me – 'Sir, if you don't know something, Google it!’”

Speaking at the afternoon graduation session for master’s and PhD graduates in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences on 28 June 2018, Max du Preez, South African author, columnist and documentary filmmaker, said, “Intelligentsia search for the truth, because the truth matters.”

On the final day of the graduation ceremonies, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Peterson, addressed the audience by saying, “The values we strive to infuse into our knowledge enterprise are those of critical enquiry and receptiveness to alternative ideas: to question, ask, and debate constructively; but we also impart the value of service.” He concluded by sharing that, “To be of service to your community, to the country, the continent, and even to the world is the role graduates are expected to play.”

Inspiring stories:

Security officer overcoming obstacles to obtain master’s

Hanneke Meyer obtains master’s with distinction at 75

Wednesday 27 June 2018

09:00

Description: 2018 Prem Govender small Tags: Prem Govender, Adv Shirly Hyland, School of Financial Planning Law, Graduation

 “Second to the medical profession, financial planning is essential as it ensures the financial well-being of society.” 
Prem Govender

WATCH: UFS June Graduation Ceremony 27 June 2018 ( morning session)

14:30

 


Description: 2018 Greg VSW small Tags: South Campus School of Open and Distance Learning, ACT programme, Greg van Schalkwyk

"Never stop studying. My students keep telling me; 'Sir, if you don't know something, Google it!'" 
- Greg  van Schalkwyk, Principal of the Cape Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology

Watch: UFS June Graduation Ceremony 27 June 2018 ( afternoon session)

Thursday 28 June 2018

09:00

Description: 2018 Max du Preez small Tags: South Campus School of Open and Distance Learning, ACT programme, Greg van Schalkwyk

"Intelligentsia search for the truth, because the truth matters.”
- Max du Preez, South African author, columnist and documentary filmmaker 

WATCH: UFS June Graduation Ceremony 28 June 2018 ( morning Session)

14:30

 Description: 2018 student June grad small Tags: UFS graduation, June graduations

“We need to do everything in our power to re-elevate the teaching profession to where it should be.”
– Dr Khotso Mokhele

WATCH: UFS June Graduation Ceremony 28 June 2018 ( afternoon session)

Friday 29 June 2018

14:30

Description: 2018 Friday afternoon session small Tags: UFS graduations, June Graduations

“To be of service to your community, to the country, the continent, and the globe is the role that graduates will play.”
-Prof Francis Peterson

WATCH: UFS June Graduation Ceremony 29 June 2018 ( afternoon session)



News Archive

“My time at the UFS was the golden gem of my career”
2016-07-04

Description: Zig Gibson Tags: Zig Gibson

Prof Alan St Clair Gibson
Photo: Oteng Mpete

“My time at the University of the Free State (UFS) was the golden gem of my career. I have worked at medical schools or biomedical research centres in the United Kingdom, United States and at some of the top medical schools in South Africa, but working at the UFS was one of the highlights of my career,” says Prof Alan St Clair Gibson, Head of the UFS School of Medicine.

After spending just over two years at the UFS, Prof St Clair Gibson resigned from the institution in June 2016 and will take up the position of Dean: Health and Human Performance Sciences at the Waikato University in New Zealand in mid-July, where he will assist to establish a new faculty for all the health-science disciplines. “It was a privilege to work at the UFS. I come from a strong research background and wanted to grow research at the university, which I achieved. I came to the UFS because of the Academic and Human Projects and am proud of what has been achieved at the School of Medicine during the time I was here,” he said.

Prof St Clair Gibson highlighted some of these achievements, including the development of a management infrastructure across the disciplines of the school. “The establishment of an executive management committee for the school, as well as research champions in departments, highlighted the importance of proper governance and strategic management. By developing data dashboards, my management team and I could develop an understanding of research income and productivity, how the school works, what the role of teaching and learning is, and how the school could benefit in terms of third-stream income from the many contracts obtained by its academic staff. As a result, contracts and the financial management model of the school have also been reconfigured to the benefit of the university so that the institution and school can benefit from it,” he said.

His strong belief in an open-door policy has made staff feel part of the environment and it has created an atmosphere of equality and inclusivity. He believes in staff development and has, for instance, established leadership and management courses for heads of departments. Another factor to be proud of is the increase in the number of young researchers who recently joined the school, such as Prof Ross Tucker, who is one of the foremost sport scientists in the country. “It is a fact that staff retire or resign in all schools and departments of any university. It is also true that these departures offer opportunities to bring new academic and professional staff into the UFS. In fact, for the first time virtually every department in the School of Medicine now has a full-time Head of Department and 46 new staff were appointed since January 2015,” said Prof St Clair Gibson.

“I am especially proud of contributing, together with the senior leadership of the UFS, to stabilise the relationship with the Free State Department of Health (DoH). With the assistance of these parties, as well as my executive management team, we could find a better way of working together to the benefit of the school and the province.’’

Transforming the student profile to be representative of the country’s demographics is another milestone Prof St Clair Gibson will remember. “The intake of black and white students is of such a nature that we now have a much more balanced ratio of black and white undergraduate students than before.”

“I wanted to stay longer to see the effect of all the changes I made at the school, but the deanship is an offer I cannot refuse. I would have liked to see a steadier increase in the number of permanent clinical staff and have worked hard with both the UFS management and the DoH to try and achieve that; but more work needs to be done.”

I have worked with a number of fantastic staff members at the school, who are determined to do good in a challenging environment. I am amazed at the energy of the university leadership and how the Human and Academic Projects are executed. My wish for the university is to maintain and grow its standards and for the School of Medicine to maintain its reputation as one of the best schools in the country. I will always be a proud alumnus of the UFS,” he said.

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