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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

Two academics will be sorely missed
2013-04-02

  

Prof Andrew Marston and Prof Bannie Britz
Photo: Supplied
02 April 2013

The staff and students of the University of the Free State (UFS) are deeply saddened by the recent passing in Bloemfontein of two of the university’s most esteemed and renowned academics, Prof Bannie Britz and Prof Andrew Marston.

Prof Britz was the Head of the Department of Architecture from 1992 to 2000. He was renowned in his field, winning numerous prizes for Architecture, including the Gold Medal for Architecture from the South African Academy of Arts and Sciences.

“As professional architect and urban designer, Prof Britz was a much awarded architect who received numerous award of merit from the South African Institute of Architects for buildings erected in South Africa over the years,” said Martie Bitzer, Head of the Department of Architecture.

Apart from his acclaim elsewhere, Prof Britz also played a major role in the day-to-day activities of university’s staff and students. He was responsible for the design of the many walkways on campus and the refurbishment of the Main Building on the Bloemfontein Campus. For the many contributions in his field, Prof Britz was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the UFS in 2007.

Prof Andrew Marston, a specialist in natural product chemistry and methods associated with the isolation and analysis of medically important chemicals from plants, was appointed from Geneva, Switzerland in 2009 under the UFS Strategic Cluster for Advanced Biomolecular Research.

He obtained a B-rating from the National Research Foundation (NRF) in 2011, and was consequently appointed as a senior professor in die UFS Senior Professor Programme. “He has made valuable contributions to the UFS in terms of teaching and postgraduate supervision, as well as research. In his short stay at the UFS, he already co-authored more than ten papers in international chemistry literature,” said Prof André Roodt, Head of the Department of Chemistry.

His research group was part of a multilateral agreement in the European Union (EU) with a number of African and three European universities. He obtained new research funding from the Seventh Framework Programme of the EU for the Building Sustainable Research Capacity on Plants for Better Public Health in Africa project, from the Norwegian Research Council for bioprospecting and the isolation and structure determination of compounds from plants and algae, and from the South African Rooibos Tea Council.

The memorial service for Prof Britz took place on Friday 5 April 2013 in the Berg-en-Dal Dutch Reformed Church in Bloemfontein. The service for Prof Marston took place in the Trinity Church, Charles Street, Bloemfontein.

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