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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

Postgraduate success rewarded during winter graduation ceremony
2012-06-06

The university is celebrating an increase in postgraduate success with a record number of master’s degrees and doctorates to be awarded during the winter graduation ceremony on 14 June 2012.

A total of 481 master’s degrees and 82 doctorates will be awarded in two ceremonies in the Callie Human Centre on the Bloemfontein Campus. This is the most postgraduate qualifications to be awarded at a single graduation ceremony. 

The university will also award an honorary doctorate in Literature to the author, Etienne van Heerden. Van Heerden, the author of Dertig Nagte in Amsterdam and Toorberg, among others, will be honoured with a D. Litt degree. Van Heerden, currently Hofmeyr professor and Head of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch studies at the University of Cape Town, is one of the most acclaimed Afrikaans writers. His novels have been translated into eleven languages and his contributions are included in anthologies worldwide. One of his most important contributions to South African society is his creation of LitNet and the development of this powerful digital website that now also includes two accredited journals.

Ms Nicky Abdinor, a clinical psychologist of Cape Town, who was born without arms and with shortened legs, will be the guest speaker at the graduation ceremony.

The programme for the two ceremonies is: 

  • At 10:15, the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences will award 231 master’s degrees and confer 43 doctorates. The Faculty of Health Sciences will award 52 master’s degrees and confer seven doctorates. 
  • At 14:15, the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences will award 62 master’s degrees and confer seven doctorates. The Faculty of the Humanities will confer one honorary doctorate, award 47 master’s degrees and confer 13 doctorates. In the Faculty of Education, 22 master’s degrees will be awarded and nine doctorates conferred. In the Faculty of Law, 34 master’s degrees will be awarded and one doctorate conferred. The Faculty of Theology will award 33 master’s degrees, and confer two doctorates.
     

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