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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

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu visiting the UFS once again
2012-07-13

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
13 July 2012

The University of the Free State (UFS) will once again be honoured by the presence of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on Wednesday 18 July 2012.

Dr Tutu will be speaking at our Bloemfontein Campus for the first session of a two-day “In Conversation With …”event that is part of the Global Leadership Summit currently being held on the campus.

This sessions starts at 09:30 at the Centenary Complex. The media is invited to attend this session.

Dr Tutu will be in dialogue with Prof. Mark Solms, Head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Cape Town and owner of the Solms-Delta Wine Estate in Franschhoek.

The theme for this conversation, facilitated by Prof. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, will be “Living Reconciliation: Winds of Change in Franschhoek and Transformation at Solms-Delta Wine Estate”. This is based on the transformation introduced by Solms on his farm in the Franschhoek Valley.

Prof. Gobodo-Madikizela is a Senior Research Professor on trauma, forgiveness and reconciliation at the UFS.

As owner of Solms-Delta Wine Estate in Franschhoek, Prof. Solms led an initiative to transform the lives of farm workers on the estate through the Wijn de Caab Trust. This initiative was extended to empower the wider community of farm dwellers when Prof. Solms co-founded the Delta Trust and the Franschhoek Valley Transformation Charter. This organisation aims to break trans-generational cycles of social division and inequality in the valley.

The dialogue with Dr Tutu will highlight the significance of these initiatives as examples of deepening the link between socially responsive scholarship, commitment to social justice and responsible citizenship in contemporary South Africa.

Last year, the UFS awarded Dr Tutu an honorary doctorate in Theology, marking a milestone in the history of the university.

At 12:30, Dr Tutu will visit the Red Square in front of the UFS Main Building, where he will join in the fundraising festivities for the university’s official Nelson Mandela Day event and deliver a short address.

Schools in the vicinity, UFS staff and students and the public are invited to take part in the R5 coin laying ceremony in front of the Main Building.

The money collected at this event will be used to benefit the No Student Hungry (NSH) campaign as well as Bloemfontein Child Welfare.
 

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