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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

UFS professor addresses genetically modified food in South Africa in inaugural lecture
2016-09-23

Description: Chris Viljoen inaugural lecture Tags: Chris Viljoen inaugural lecture

At the inaugural lecture were, from the left front,
Prof Lis Lange, Vice Rector: Academic;
Prof Chris Viljoen; Prof Gert van Zyl,
Dean: Faculty of Health Sciences; back: Prof Marius Coetzee,
Head of Department of Haematology and Cell Biology;
and Dr Lynette van der Merwe, Undergraduate
Programme Director.
Photo: Stephen Collett

The first genetically modified (GM) crops in South Africa were planted in 1998. Eighteen years later, the country is one of the largest producers of GM food in the world. Those in support of genetically modified crops say this process is the only way to feed a rapidly growing world population. But those who criticise GM food describe it as a threat to the environment and safety of the population. Who is right? According to Prof Chris Viljoen of the Department of Haematology and Cell Biology at the University of the Free State, neither position is well-founded.

GM crops play a vital role in food security

While GM crops have an important role to play in increasing food production, the technology is only part of the solution to providing sufficient food for a growing world population. The major genetically modified crops produced in the world include soybean, cotton, maize and canola. However, the authenticity of food labelling and the long-term safety of GM food are issues that consumers are concerned about.

Safety and labelling of GM food important in South Africa
In his inaugural lecture on the subject “Are you really going to eat that?” Prof Viljoen addressed the importance of the safety and labelling of GM food in the country. “In order for food to be sustainable, production needs to be economically and environmentally sustainable. On the other hand, food integrity, including food quality, authenticity and safety need to be ensured,” Prof Viljoen said. 

Labelling of food products for genetic modification was mandatory in South Africa, he went on to say. “It allows consumers the right of choice whether to eat genetically modified foods or not.” The Consumer Protection Act of 2008 requires food ingredients containing more than 5% of GM content to be labelled. 

GMO Testing Facility world leader in food diagnostic testing
In 1999, Prof Viljoen spearheaded research in developing a GM diagnostic testing platform, and in 2003, a commercial diagnostic platform for GM status certification, called the GMO Testing Facility, was founded. The facility is a licensed Eurofins GeneScan laboratory   a world leader in food diagnostic testing   and provides diagnostic detection and quantification of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in grain and processed foods for the local and international market.

Molecular diagnostic technology the future of food integrity, authenticity and safety
With GM labelling now well-established in South Africa, the next challenge is to establish the use of molecular diagnostic technology to ensure that food integrity, including food authenticity and safety is maintained, said Prof Viljoen.

“To the question ‘Are you really going to eat that?’ the answer is ‘yes’, but let’s continue doing research to make sure that what we eat is safe and authentic.”

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