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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

Medical team performs first hybrid procedure in the Free State
2014-12-08

The days when a heart operation meant hours in an operating theatre, with weeks and even months of convalescing, will soon be something of the past.

A team of cardiologists from the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Faculty of Health Sciences once again made medical history when they performed the first hybrid procedure in the Free State.

The Department of Paediatric Cardiology, in conjunction with the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, performed this very successful procedure on a 45-year-old woman from Kuruman.

During the procedure of 30 minutes, the patient’s thorax was opened up through a mini thoracotomy to operate on the beating heart.

“The patient received an artificial valve in 2011. Due to infection, a giant aneurism developed from the left ventricle, next to the aorta. Surgery would pose a very high risk to the patient. Furthermore, her health was such that it would contribute to problems during open-heart surgery,” explains Prof Stephen Brown, Head of the UFS’s Department of Paediatric Cardiology.

“After the heart was opened up through a mini thoracotomy, the paediatric cardiologists performed a direct puncture with a needle to the left ventricle cavity. A Special sheath was then placed in the left ventricle to bypass the catheters. Aided by highly advanced three-dimensional echocardiography and dihedral X-ray guidance, the opening to the aneurism, located directly below the artificial aorta valve, was identified and the aneurism cannulated.”
 
During the operation, a special coil, called a Nester Retractor, was used for the first time on a patient in South Africa to obtain stasis of extravasation and ensure the stability of devices in the aneurism.

“This is highly advanced and specialist work, as we had to make sure that the aneurism doesn’t rupture during manipulation and the devices had to be positioned in such a way that it doesn’t cause obstruction in valve function or the coronary artery. The surgical team was ready all the time to switch the patient to the heart-lung machine should something go wrong, but the procedure was very successful and the patient was discharged after a few days.”

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