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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

Autumn Graduation Ceremony a thrilling showcase
2013-04-19

 

Yolanda du Toit from the Department Student Academic Services is the proud mother of three daughters who all received qualifications at the Autumn Graduation. Maryke (left) received her certificate in Certified Financial Planning. She already has degrees in B.Com. Law and LLB. Amandi (centre) received her B.Ed and twin sister received her degree in consumer science.
Photo: Renè-Jean van der Berg
19 April 2013

Gareth Cliff video clip
Vicus and Vincent Visser video clip
Joshua Johnson video clip
Graduation YouTube video clip

Photo Gallery

The university’s Autumn Graduation Ceremony infused the Bloemfontein Campus with exhilaration last week.

Beaming with pride, graduates received 526 diplomas/certificates and 2 796 bachelor’s and honours degrees in total.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, lead each procession of graduates from the Red Square down the path to the Callie Human Centre while the beat of drums filled the air. “To break the cycle of poverty, get an education, get a degree,” Prof Jansen urged graduates during their respective ceremonies. He underscored the fact that, as graduates, they are ten times more likely to get a job, with the odds rising as they continue their postgraduate studies.

Dr Khotso Mohele, Chancellor of the university, advised graduates not to allow life’s obstacles to discourage them. “Take what you have learned over the last three or four years and use that knowledge to reach your goal,” he said. He also emphasised that graduates need to be able to take standpoint against issues.

Graduates’ ceremonies were made even more memorable by various local and international speakers and performers.

American student and tap-dancer, Joshua Johnson, inspired the audience with his story of hope and perseverance. As a student from Penn State University, he travels five hours by bus to New York every weekend where he dances on the subway train to earn money for his tuition fees. Joshua told graduates that, in order to achieve their goals, they have to make the best use of the 24 hours they get to live daily. “Don’t follow in the footsteps of someone else. Take the beat of life, but add your rhythm to it," his wise words resonated with the exhilarated graduates. The audience could not help but clap to the rhythmic beat of his tap-dancing performance.

Vicus Visser, dubbed Bloemfontein’s Justin Bieber was also on the list of performers. Vicus – a South African YouTube singing sensation – performed with his brother, Vincent, to the delight of the crowd.

Radio personality and Idols South Africa judge, Gareth Cliff, was also among the speakers who addressed the graduates during the week. “It’s a good time be alive, a good time to be a South African, a good time to be a qualified South African,” he said. “It’s a time in our country’s development that we require minds such as yours to propel us forward,” was part of his message. Gareth also stressed the freedom of speech in South Africa, especially the freedom of the media.

The Autumn Graduation Ceremony of 2013 was an immense success and filled the hearts of Kovsie graduates, students, staff, parents, family and friends with overwhelming pride.

The Qwaqwa Campus’ graduation ceremony will take place on 8 June 2013. Diplomas / certificates up to and including doctorates will be awarded at this ceremony.

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