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25 April 2019 | Story Mamosa Makaya

Since 2016, the University of the Free State Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) has received a grant from First National Bank worth R2 498 000, which supports tertiary bursaries for students with disabilities. Bursary holders are funded through CUADS, as the administrator of the bursaries.
  
These are students enrolled for various academic programmes who require academic assistance and/or assistive devices such as electronic handheld magnifiers, laptops, and hearing aids. The FNB grant also covers tuition, accommodation, study material and books, and meals.  The success of the grant is already evident, with one of the recipients having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in December 2018. A second student was capped at the April 2019 graduations with a BSc Honours in Quantity Surveying.
 
Supporting the principles of the ITP

The UFS received the grant from FNB in instalments, starting in the 2016 academic year to date, supporting the needs of 40 disabled students. This grant and the work of CUADS speaks to and supports the principles of the Integrated Transformation Plan (ITP), namely inclusivity, transformation, and diversity. The vision of the Universal Access work stream is to enable the UFS to create an environment where students with disabilities can experience all aspects of student life equal to their non-disabled peers. The ITP provides for the recognition of the rights of people with disabilities as an important lesson in social justice and an opportunity to reinforce university values.

The successful administration of the grant to benefit past and present students is a ‘feather in the cap’ of CUADS, and is a shining example of the impact of public private investment and the endless possibilities that open up when there is a commitment to developing future leaders in academic spaces, allowing them to thrive by creating a learning environment that is welcoming and empowering. 



News Archive

Ms Oprah Winfrey receives an honorary doctorate from the UFS
2011-06-24

 

Dr Oprah Winfrey after receiving her honorary doctorate degree.
Photo: Rian Horn 

Our university awarded an honorary doctorate in Education to global media leader and philanthropist Ms Oprah Winfrey on Friday 24 June 2011.

The honorary doctorate is in recognition of Ms Winfrey’s unparalleled dedication to improving the lives and futures of so many by improving education and ensuring that it is accessible to all. Through her award-winning show, The Oprah Winfrey Show (which concluded this year after 25 years of entertainment and service) and the various charity organisations she has established, Ms Winfrey harnessed the power of her iconic stature in the struggle to eradicate poverty and make education accessible to all.

The Callie Human Centre on our Bloemfontein Campus, where the award ceremony took place, was packed with an excited audience consisting of students, staff, members of the public and special guests. After receiving her honorary doctorate, Ms Winfrey addressed the audience and gave students the opportunity to ask her questions. During the ceremony, entertainment was provided by acclaimed musicians such as the internationally lauded award-winning singer Sibongile Khumalo, the Botshabelo String Orchestra, the Bloemfontein Children’s Choir and the choir of the Bartimea School for the Deaf and Blind.

Tickets for this event – attended by 4 500 people – were sold out within hours, confirming the respect and support South Africans have for Ms Winfrey’s work in Africa and internationally. While at our university, Ms Winfrey also visited our International Institution for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice. The awarding of Ms Winfrey's well-deserved honorary doctorate is another milestone in our university's proud history.

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