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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

Law students rated among the top in the world
2007-04-18

The UFS team that competed in the moot arbitration competition in Austria was, front from the left: Sunette Visser and Dee Leboela; back from left: Lucian Companie, Vicky Olivier and Deman Smit.
UFS Law students rated among the top in the world
A team of eight students from the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State (UFS) has put the university among the top universities in the world when it was ranked 46th out of 177 universities that recently took part in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot competition in Vienna, Austria.

Universities from more than 55 countries took part in the competition and 1 800 arguments were delivered over a period of seven days. The UFS team competed against countries such as Switzerland, Russia, Lapland and France.

The team did exceptionally well in all the arguments and was complimented on oral performance and litigation skills. “In the final round, one of the arbitrators, who is a practising international trade lawyer and arbitrator, said that the team’s oral arguments were of exactly the same standard as that of practising international trade lawyers in real arbitrations,” said Prof. Elizabeth Snyman-Van Deventer, coach of the team and lecturer at the Department of Mercantile Law.

To put the cherry on top, one of the team members, Deman Smit, received an individual oralist award and an honourable mention as one of the best speakers. His score of 138 out of 150 placed him within three (3) points of the international individual winner.

The Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof. Johan Henning said: “The fact that Deman missed out on receiving the top speaker award by a couple of points is a striking example of the world class students this faculty is delivering. It also shows that the faculty needs not to stand back for law faculties such as those of Harvard, Freiburg, Munchen, Stanford and Sorbonne.”

The Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot is an annual competition organised by the Institute of International Commercial Law at the Pace University School of Law in New York, United States of America. The goal of the competition is to foster the study of international commercial law and to train students in methods of alternative dispute resolution.

“The Faculty of Law also sees this competition as part of our development strategy to develop skilled arbitrators for commercial disputes. There is a need in Africa for commercial lawyers to facilitate international trade. This programme is also in line with the development strategies of the African Union,” said Prof. Snyman-Van Deventer.

The UFS team comprised of: Dee Leboela, Smit, Lucien Companie, Vicky Olivier, Sunette Visser, Qaqamba Vellem, Hanno Bekker and Lucy Nthotso.

Media release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za 
18 April 2007
 

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