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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

Honorary Professor delivers inaugural lecture in the Faculty of Theology
2010-10-27

Prof. Peter Lampe.

Prof. Peter Lampe recently delivered his inaugural lecture as an Honorary Professor in the Department of New Testament in the Faculty of Theology of the University of the Free State (UFS).

The title of Prof. Lampe’s inaugural lecture was Theology and rhetorics: how do "res" and "verba" relate to each other, in which he addressed the fundamental question of the role and importance of words and the issue/content in theology. Can content simply be conveyed in any manner? Also in theology, Martin Luther observed that some theologians’ works contain words (verba) and those of others the content (res). In his inaugural lecture, Prof. Lampe pointed out that our knowledge of God/reality specifically has to be construed through the use of words. Words and terminology therefore have to be selected with circumspection. Res and verba stand in close relation to each other.

Prof. Lampe declared that in the post-modern world, a “competition” exists for the best constructed worldview and theologians could make a significant contribution to the construction of a better reality through better judgement of the words they use. 

Prof. Lampe, currently the Chair of New Testament Theology at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, has a rich and varied history in the field of theology. Having attained degrees in theology, philosophy and archaeology in Gottingen, Rome and Berne, Prof. Lampe has enjoyed an illustrious professional career. After receiving his Ph.D. at the University of Berne and teaching New Testament Studies there, Prof. Lampe held the Chairs of New Testament Studies in Virginia (USA) and History and Archaeology of Early Christians in Kiel (Germany), before being appointed to the post he currently holds.

In 2003 he was awarded the German Ecumenical Preaching Award and in Turkey he was the leader of an expedition that discovered the long-lost Montanist headquarters of Pepouza and Tymion.

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