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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 Winter Graduation Ceremony

UFS awards record number of master’s degrees and doctorates

The University of the Free State (UFS) celebrated an increase in postgraduate successes with a record number of master’s degrees and doctorates that were awarded during the winter graduation ceremony at the Bloemfontein campus on Thursday 14 June 2012.

A total of 481 master’s degrees and 82 doctorates were 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.

DiMTEC has reason to celebrate

Dr Andries Jordaan (second from right) with some of the people who received their master's degrees. From the left are Kehinde Balogun, the couple Olive Chisola-Darris en Clement West Darris, and the couple Everson Ndlovu en Patience Sibongile Ndlovu.
Photo: Leatitia Pienaar
18 June 2012

DiMTEC had reason to celebrate at the winter graduation ceremony. The Disaster Management Training and Education Centre for Africa delivered a healthy crop of 32 master’s degrees and one doctorate.

This was the most master’s degrees that the centre has been awarded at one opportunity. The doctorate, however, was not at DiMTEC – Andries Jordaan, the director of the centre, obtained his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economy.

It was also the first time that two couples received their master’s degrees at the centre at the same time.

Speaking at the event, Dr Jordaan said former students of the centre were using their expertise worldwide. Some of them are in senior positions at the United Nations, in African countries, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. DiMTEC’s students hail from 17 African countries, including French-speaking countries.

“I am proud that we have a footprint right across Africa,” he said.

Three travel all the way from Europe for their MBAs

Smiles on an important day. From the left are: Kasina Baker, Friederike Hackelberg, and Johanna Kössler and her parents and sister.
Photo: Stephen Collett
18 June 2012
No distance, time or money could prevent three MBA graduates from Europe from attending the winter graduation ceremony in Bloemfontein. Two of them were exchange students who were so captivated by the university and the country that they undertook their MBA studies at the Business School.

Friederike Hackelberg of Bremen, Germany, was an exchange student in 2008 and extended her stay to do an MBA. Johanna Kössler of Bolzano, Italy, was also an exchange student who succumbed to the charms of the UFS and South Africa. She brought her parents, George and Nannie, and her sister, Magdalena, with her to attend the graduation ceremony.

Kasina Baker of Warsaw, Poland, began her studies while her husband was working in Kenya. She wanted to study at a quality institution and thus chose the UFS's Business School.

Jessica gets three prestigious medals

Jessica Potgieter (right) was the first student in almost three decades to receive three prestigious medals at the Winter Graduation Ceremony. She received the Dean's medal as best Master's student in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, the Senate Medal as best Master's student at the university and the Award for Scientific Achievement by the South African Association for the Advancement of Science. She is seen here with her mother, Mrs Ilse van Rhyn, and Dr Khotso Mokhele, Chancellor.
Photo: Johan Roux
18 June 2012
Three daughters, three degrees for proud Kovsie mom
Liezel Alsemgeest and Adri Kotzé.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs
18 June 2012

Adri Kotzé, Faculty Manager in the Faculty of Law, is a very proud parent. In the course of one year, all three her daughters will receive degrees from the University of the Free State (UFS). First in line is the eldest, who received her Ph.D. in Business Management at the Winter Graduation Ceremony.

Liezel is a lecturer in the Department of Business Management at the UFS, where she lectures, publishes and hopes to further her research in finance. “I enjoy working at the university because you have the freedom to do your own thing and focus on whatever you like,” she says.

The title of Liezel’s thesis is Customers’ perception of business units within an agricultural business in South Africa. Her focus is on the subjects of customer satisfaction and financial management, with a specific focus on the management of agricultural businesses.

Middle sister Corné will be graduating with a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy in December, while the youngest, Adéle, will receive her B.A. in Media Studies and Journalism at the Autumn Graduation Ceremony in 2013.

“I am very proud of all three my daughters,” says Adri.

Sasolburg minister receives Dean's Medal for best master's degree in Theology
Rev. Frans Redelinghuys.
18 June 2012

Rev. Frans Redelinghuys of the Reformed Church in Sasolburg received his master’s degree in Theology at the University of the Free State’s Winter Graduation Ceremony. Rev. Redelinghuys was also awarded the Dean’s Medal as the best master’s degree student in the Faculty of Theology.

The focus of his dissertation is Spirituality. “My lecturers are all people who practice what they preach and they have shared their knowledge with me.,” he says.

“My studies also contributed to my personal development,” says Rev. Redelinghuys.

Student from the Netherlands receives degree at UFS Winter Graduation Ceremony

Deborah Van den Bosch-Heij.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs
18 June 2012

Deborah Van den Bosch-Heij from the Netherlands was awarded a Ph.D. at the Winter Graduation Ceremony by the Faculty of Theology of the University of the Free State (UFS). Her thesis, Spirit and healing in Africa: A reformed pneumatological perspective, is an interdisciplinary investigation of the relationship between the Holy Spirit and healing in Southern Africa. The research addresses the need for a reviewed and contextually reformed approached to healing.

Deborah started her career as a minister at the Valkenburg Congregation of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands in 2001. She was appointed by the missionary department of her church to lecture at the Justo Mwale Theological University College in Lusaka, Zambia in 2005. It was here that she decided on the topic of her thesis. Prof. Rian Venter from the Department of Systematic Theology at the UFS, who is also involved at the Justo Mwale College, is Deborah’s promoter and assisted her in her studies whilst she was in the Netherlands. It was also Prof. Venter who made Deborah aware of the importance of interdisciplinary research.

Well-known judge's granddaughter receives degree

Judge Joos Hefer and Annelie de Man.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

Annelie de Man, a law researcher at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein received her master’s degree at the Winter Graduation Ceremony of the University of the Free State (UFS). She is Judge Joos Hefer’s granddaughter. Annelie was also awarded the Dean’s Medal as the best master’s degree student in the Faculty of Law.

“Today is one of the biggest highlights in my career,” says Annelie, who received exposure to the field of law from a young age.

In September, she will be leaving for Italy to study for a master’s degree in European Human Rights at the European Inter University.

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