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26 February 2019 | Story Eugene Seegers | Photo Eugene Seegers
Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Daniella Coetzee, South Campus Principal, Tshegofatso Setilo, Director Access, Prof Prakash Naidoo, Vice-Rector Operations
Prof Francis Petersen, Prof Daniella Coetzee (Principal: South Campus), Tshegofatso Setilo (Head: Access Programmes), and Prof Prakash Naidoo (Vice-Rector: Operations) on the South Campus for the welcoming of first-years.


“Welcome to the South Campus of the University of the Free State!” Addressing a packed Madiba Arena, Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, said he was happy to see not only first-year students, but also parents and guardians, student leadership, and support staff from both the Bloemfontein and South Campuses.

 “I would like to congratulate each of our first-year students for making the decision to come to Kovsies to further your studies here. But I would also like to thank you for making this choice,” he continued.

Prof Petersen further emphasised that the students’ experience and success as individuals are important to the UFS as an institution; therefore, academic and support staff are on hand to guide them through their journey to becoming well-rounded individuals. “We will surely take care of you,” said Prof Petersen. He also reassured parents and guardians that their loved ones would be well looked after.

The Rector also focused attention on the role of student-leadership structures, such as the newly-formed Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) and South Campus SRC, members of which were present in the audience. He thanked them for playing a key role in the student constituency, highlighting their support and guidance to help first-years cultivate a sense of belonging at the UFS.

Turning back to first-year students, Prof Petersen stated that they have the unique opportunity to study on a campus specifically focused on developing their full potential, a campus where they can realise their dreams. “Your arrival on the campus marks a new chapter in your life. This chapter is slightly different, as you are the author thereof. The previous chapters in your life were largely written by others—your parents, guardians, families, teachers, and others. You will now be the main author in the next chapter of your unique story.”

“At Kovsies, we believe in developing students in their totality as human beings, not just the academic side. May your time with us equip you to make a success of your life after university!”

Prof Petersen’s Message to First-year Students
  1. Take responsibility for your academic programme.
    • Keep your focus. Study and study hard. You will reap the rewards and see the advantages of making success in your studies a top priority.
    • Make sure that you have enough time for your studies; balance your social life and your time set aside to study.
  2. Realise and remember that you are not alone.
    • If you find things difficult, seek help.
    • Our Department of Student Counselling and Development has trained staff and tailor-made programmes that can assist you.
    • Look after your mental health—and look after each other’s mental health.
  3. Make the most of your time at Kovsies.
    • Join one or more of the student organisations; why not try something new?
  4. Embrace difference and diversity.
    • Get to know students who are different from you.
    • You will lose valuable opportunities to grow if you only associate with your own all the time. It is important to get to know students who are different from you. It could be someone from a different part of the country, or from another country, a different ethnicity, a different religion, someone who has different views from yours, or who has different interests and perspectives.

News Archive

UFS academic joins an elite league of achievers
2010-04-14

Prof. Dingie van Rensburg, Director of the Centre for Health Systems Research  Development at the University of the Free State
Prof. Dingie van Rensburg
Prof. Dingie van Rensburg, Director of the Centre for Health Systems Research & Development at the University of the Free State (UFS), has joined an elite list of a only few distinguished individuals who have been awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Antwerp (UA) in Belgium.

He is only the third South African to be honoured in this way by the UA, following in the footsteps of Constitutional Court Judge Albie Sachs (2000) and former State President, Nelson Mandela (2004).

He is the first social scientist from South Africa to receive this honorary doctorate from the UA – the highest academic distinction of that university. The university has previously only awarded three honorary doctorates to social scientists: Prof. Raymond Boudon, sociologist at the University of Paris-Sorbonne (1995); Prof. Robert Putman, political scientist at Harvard University (2000); and Prof. John Nash (of A Beautiful Mind fame), mathematician and economist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Princeton.

The award ceremony will take place on 29 April 2010 in Antwerp.

Prof. Van Rensburg has authored, co-authored and was editor of many books/volumes, chapters in books, monographs, research reports and articles in scientific journals. He has also presented and co-presented at numerous national and international conferences; and supervised a significant number of master’s, doctoral and post-doctoral students.

In his 17 years as director of the Centre he has initiated, managed and led approximately 50 research and development projects, several of them large and long-term projects, and many of an inter-institutional and multidisciplinary nature.

In 2002 he became an NRF-rated researcher and in 2007 his rating as an established researcher was renewed. In the past two decades he received several research grants simultaneously from both the National Research Foundation and the Medical Research Foundation of South Africa, mostly for projects on Tuberculosis, HIV/Aids and antiretroviral treatment.

Prof Van Rensburg holds membership of both the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns and the Academy for Science of South Africa; he also served for varying periods on the Councils of both these academies. He was also a member of various health bodies of the Free State Province and the National Science and Technology Forum.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
14 April 2010
 

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