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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

Inauguration of Prof Francis Petersen as 14th Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS
2017-05-23

Description: Prof Petersen Inauguration Charl Devenish photo Tags: Prof Petersen Inauguration Charl Devenish photo

Dr Khotso Mokhele, Chancellor of the UFS, robes Prof Francis Petersen as Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS.
Photo: Charl Devenish

“At the UFS, we want to produce graduates for the world, and we need to ensure that we use our knowledge to uplift society”
— Prof Francis Petersen, 14th Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State (UFS)

On Friday 19 May 2017, the University of the Free State (UFS) celebrated the inauguration of its 14th Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof Francis Petersen. The formal inauguration was held in the Odeion Theatre on the Bloemfontein Campus. The ceremony was preceded by a week-long welcoming programme on the three UFS campuses.

The guest list included representatives from local and provincial government, vice-chancellors and rectors from across South Africa, and senior members of the university’s executive management.

During the inaugural address, Prof Petersen paid tribute to his predecessors for the role they played in making the university what it is today. This included former rectors and vice-chancellors who attended the ceremony, such as Prof Francois Retief and Prof Frederick Fourie, and Prof Stef Coetzee and Prof Jonathan Jansen who were unable to attend.

Prof Petersen characterised 2015 and 2016 as watershed years for the South African higher-education system. “The Rhodes Must Fall, and subsequent Fees Must Fall student and staff protests challenged us, and re-energised a critical engagement around the purpose of the university in an equal society, both as a site of complicity and as a potential agent for social change,” said Prof Petersen.

He committed himself to developing the UFS into an institution that will have an even greater impact than before.

“This institution I am striving to establish will be one that responds positively to inclusivity, diversity, and transformation, and which can incorporate these values into our curriculum, scholarship, and research in a productive way,” said Prof Petersen.

Prof Petersen emphasised the importance of the three-campus model. “The University of the Free State is ONE university with three campuses: the Bloemfontein Campus, our South Campus, and the Qwaqwa Campus. I am committed to align the activities of the three campuses, and to integrate our activities to a greater extent.

“We must work together to infuse each campus with the values we have identified as essential if we are to make our mark as a united University of the Free State: academic excellence, diversity and inclusivity, and innovation.”

The Chancellor, Dr Khotso Mokhele, had the honour of handing over the gown to Prof Petersen. Prof Lis Lange, Vice-Rector: Academic, explained the relationship between the university and the Basotho people, and how this relationship is honoured through the official procession gowns of the UFS. The Basotho blanket is worn by kings, and the university therefore hopes that the symbolism of the gown would be a source of inspiration to Prof Petersen.

The event was concluded by congratulatory messages from former colleagues and the President of the Student Representative Council on the Bloemfontein Campus, SK Luwaca. The event was elegant and graceful – the inaugural address was thought-provoking and inspiring.


 

Official Inauguration Ceremony:

19 May 2017
Bloemfontein Campus

 Description: Official Inauguration photo small Tags: Official Inauguration photo small


"I challenge you to dream big and do big." - Prof Petersen

 

Photo Caption: Dr Khotso Mokhele, Chancellor of the UFS, robes Prof Francis Petersen as Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS.
Photo: Johan Roux

Short biography of Prof Francis Petersen
Inaugural address: 19 May 2017
Transcription of the ceremony
Photo Gallery

Video


 

Welcoming Ceremonies:

The week of 11-19 May 2017 was one of the highlights in this year’s calendar for staff and students of the University of the Free State (UFS), with various ceremonies taking place to welcome Prof Francis Petersen – who assumed his duties on 1 April 2017 – as the 14th Vice-Chancellor and Rector. The festivities culminated in the official inauguration ceremony at the Bloemfontein Campus on 19 May 2017.
 
The Qwaqwa Campus welcoming ceremony took place on Thursday 11 May 2017, attracting a wide spectrum of community leaders from the area. Prof Petersen was welcomed by representatives from the two trade unions, National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) and UVPERSU, as well as representatives from the Student Representative Council (SRC), the Thabo Mofutsanyana Education District, and the House of Traditional Leaders. Paramount Queen Mopeli of the Bakoena Royal House bestowed a special honour upon Prof Petersen by clothing him in a traditional Basotho blanket and hat. She said, "From our heart of hearts, welcome, Prof Francis ..., and all Godspeed during your tenure."
 
The South Campus in Bloemfontein hosted a welcoming ceremony for the new Vice-Chancellor and Rector on 18 May 2017. The ceremony included a number of vocal performances and messages from various stakeholder groups. The same afternoon, the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice (IRSJ) also facilitated a panel discussion, titled Diversity, inclusivity, and social justice and the renewed call for decolonisation, in the Albert Wessels Auditorium (AWO) on the Bloemfontein Campus.

The welcoming ceremonies culminated in an event in the Callie Human Centre on Friday 19 May 2017 at the Bloemfontein Campus, with a number of performances by musicians associated with the UFS, marimbas, drum majorettes from Jim Fouche Secondary School, the Grey College Gumboots, and school choirs from Eunice Secondary School, Brebner Primary School, and Willem Postma Primary School. Representatives from key stakeholders such as Nehawu, UVPERSU, the Campus Ministries Forum, SRC, Alumni, Convocation, and the UFS Council had the opportunity to convey their messages of welcome to Prof Petersen.
 
The formal inauguration ceremony took place in the Odeion Theatre on the Bloemfontein Campus the same day.


 

Qwaqwa Campus ceremony:

11 May 2017
Qwaqwa Campus

 Description: Prof Petersen with the queen 2 Tags: Prof Petersen with the queen 2

 

"Qwaqwa Campus is the perfect laboratory for sustainable sciences.” – Prof Petersen

 

Photo caption: Paramount Queen Mopeli of the Bakoena Royal House with Prof Petersen and his wife, Cheslyn.
Photo:
Mamosa Makaya

Photo Gallery
Video

Read the full story
Transcription of the ceremony


 

South Campus ceremony:

18 May 2017
South Campus

 Description: South Campus welcoming Tags: South Campus welcoming

 

"South Campus: you aspire excellence, adding to diversity and you are innovative in what you do." - Prof Petersen

Photo caption: Flag bearers and drummers walking to the Madiba Arena.
Photo: Hannes Pieterse

Photo Gallery

Read the full story
Transcription of the ceremony

 


 

Bloemfontein Campus panel discussion:

Panel discussion: Diversity, inclusivity and social justice and the renewed call for decolonisation
18 May 2017
Bloemfontein Campus

 Description: Panel discussion 18 May 2017 Tags: Panel discussion 18 May 2017


"The UFS should be a place of belonging for everyone." - Prof Petersen

 

Photo caption: from left: SK Luwaca (SRC President, Bloemfontein Campus), Prof Elelwani Ramugondo (UCT), Prof Francis Petersen (UFS), Prof Melissa Steyn (WITS), Prof Andre Keet (UFS)
Photo: Lelanie de Wet

Photo Gallery

Read the full story
Transcription of panel discussion




 

Bloemfontein Campus ceremony:

19 May 2017
Bloemfontein Campus

 Description: Bloem welcoming ceremony on 19 May 2017 Tags: Bloem welcoming ceremony on 19 May 2017


"I can just say, Wow! I've experienced a lot during the welcoming functions on all three campuses." - Prof Petersen

 

Photo caption: Prof Francis Petersen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS
Photo: Rulanzen Martin

Photo Gallery

Read the full story
Transcription of the ceremony



 

 

Description: Inauguration and welcoming of Prof Petersen combined gallery Tags: Inauguration and welcoming of Prof Petersen combined gallery

Photo gallery of Inauguration and Welcoming Ceremonies

 

 

 

 

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