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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 to honour past and present Cabinet ministers
2010-04-19

The University of the Free State (UFS) is going to confer honorary doctoral degrees on former Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, Dr Ben Ngubane, and the current Minister of Finance, Mr Pravin Gordhan, during the university’s autumn graduation ceremony next month.

They will receive their honorary doctorates on 18 and 19 May respectively.

“It is an honour for the UFS to confer these honorary doctorates on people like these who have made, and continue to make outstanding contributions towards the wellbeing of this beautiful country. Being associated with people of this stature signifies the direction that the UFS is taking in our quest to be a great university, one of the best in the world,” said Prof. Jonathan Jansen, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

Dr Ngubane will be honoured for his immense contribution towards positioning South Africa as a major and an influential player in the development of arts, culture, science and technology internationally.

He was the first Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology in the new, democratic South Africa appointed by the former President, Nelson Mandela, in 1994. He was re-appointed to lead this ministry again by former President Thabo Mbeki in 1999.

As Premier of KwaZulu-Natal from 1996 to 1999, Dr Ngubane is credited for his role in bringing about peace and reducing the political violence that ravaged the province at that time.

In 2004 he was appointed as Ambassador to Japan where he initiated, among other projects, the South Africa-Japan University Forum (SAJU).
He has been honoured for outstanding contributions to higher education and community development and holds Honorary Doctorates from the universities of Natal, Zululand, the Medical University of South Africa (Medunsa) and the Tshwane University of Technology.

He is currently the Chairperson of the SABC Board.

Minister Gordhan, on the other hand, formed an integral part of the constitutional transition of South Africa between 1991 and 1994. He chaired the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) Management Committee – the midwife and negotiating forum for a free South Africa. He was also co-chair of the Transitional Executive Council, which was a governance structure tasked with ensuring South Africa’s transition process prior to the historic 1994 elections.

In 1994, with the dawn of a new democracy in South Africa, Mr Gordhan became a Member of Parliament and was elected as Chairperson of the Parliamentary Constitutional Committee, which oversaw the implementation of the new constitutional order. At the same time he played a leading role in drafting the present constitution of the democratic South Africa. He also led the process of formulating a new policy framework for local government transformation.

Mr Gordhan was appointed as Deputy Commissioner at the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in March 1998 after being deployed from Parliament as part of the government’s drive to transform the public service. The following year he was appointed as Commissioner for SARS with the important task, amongst others, to transform South Africa’s Customs and Revenue administration – a strategic governmental institution.

He has represented South Africa in many international undertakings, including several peacekeeping missions, as Chairperson of the Customs Workshop for the Second Global Forum on Fighting Corruption and Safe-Guarding Integrity (2001), and is often called upon to make presentations at tax seminars and customs conferences.

In 2000 he was appointed Chairperson of the Council of World Customs Organisation (WCO), based in Brussels, a position to which he was re-elected twice, thus serving from 2000 to 2006.

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

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