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02 May 2018 Photo Charl Devenish
South Campus UAP celebrates 27 years of access to education
Mr Francois Marais, Prof Kalie Strydom, Prof Daniella Coetzee (South Campus Principal), Prof Francis Petersen, Dr Nthabeleng Rammile (Vice-Chairperson of the UFS Council), and Dr Khotso Mokhele (Chancellor of the UFS).

More than 27 years ago, international funding from the Human Sciences Research Council and Anglo American was put to an unusual use for that time. Prof Kalie Strydom’s research unit at the University of the Free State (UFS) was tasked with reviewing how institutional missions would change in the new South Africa. Prof Strydom worked closely with surrounding communities in Bloemfontein to develop a bridging course which would help students who showed potential to access tertiary education, although they did not meet the requirements. His vision brought to birth the University Access Programme (UAP), as it is known today, which is hosted on the UFS South Campus, and is still providing unique access to higher-education institutions in South Africa.

People with a passion for human development
March 2018 saw the 27th anniversary of this remarkable initiative, which has given a second chance to over 18 000 students. Special guests at the event included Prof Strydom, Mr Francois Marais, and representatives from the Department of Higher Education and Training and Investec’s corporate social investment office.

Dr Sonja Loots, researcher in the UFS Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL), singled out two key individuals in the formation of the UAP: Prof Kalie Strydom, who initiated the programme, and Mr Marais, who has been Director of the UAP since its inception. Dr Loots highlighted one of the driving forces behind Prof Strydom’s perseverance, vision, and determination with the UAP by quoting from an interview with him for an upcoming book on student access and success. He said, “It was a decision based on principle … to be part of the solution to a better country.”

Access and success still an issue today
In his presentation on the “Importance of Access”, Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, pointed out the vital role of access in South Africa, especially the value it offers for the betterment of the country’s people. However, he said that student success is also an issue, and institutions need to be accountable for it. Quoting Prof John Martin of the University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Engineering, “We must be flexible on access, but robust on success.” Only by “closing the loop” in this way, can the UFS and other higher-education institutions ensure a valuable contribution to the economy of the country.

News Archive

Call for nominations for the Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Awards
2017-06-23

Description: Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Awards 2017 Tags: Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Awards 2017


The University of the Free State has produced a crop of excellent alumni who have placed the university on the world stage. The aim of the third annual Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Awards is to acknowledge and honour alumni for achievements in both their personal capacity and occupational fields. Recognition for the 2017 Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Awards will be based on achievements attained from 2016 to 2017.

Nominations are invited in five categories:
•    The Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award, the highest honour accorded to an alumnus, recognises the distinguished national or international achievements of its recipient.
•    The Young Alumnus of the Year Award acknowledges the achievements of alumni who have graduated within the past decade.
•    The Cum Laude Award is bestowed upon an alumnus to recognise excellence in any field.
•    The Executive Management Award is made to any person (not necessarily an alumnus) who has delivered exceptional service to the university.
•    The Kovsie Ambassador Award is bestowed upon a current student whose achievements have brought distinction to him/her, benefited his/her community, and brought credit to the University of the Free State.

Previous recipients of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Awards include television personality, Leon Schuster; Free State Education MEC, Tate Makgoe; politician, Adv. Roelf Meyer; Olympic gold medallist, Wayde van Niekerk; former Miss World, Rolene Strauss; CEO of Central Media Group, Gary Stroebel; and Judge President of the Free State High Court, Justice Mahube Molemela.

Nominations can be submitted in writing to the Alumni Office at alumni@ufs.ac.za using the provided nomination form. A selection panel will choose the appropriate candidate(s) with age, race, and gender playing no role in the selection process. The closing date for submission of nominations is 12:00 on 31 July 2017. Award winners will be announced at a gala banquet on Saturday, 26 August 2017.

Additional queries can be directed to Helen Namponya at +27 51 401 9343, or by email at alumni@ufs.ac.za.

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