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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

Almost 2000 degrees and diplomas conferred at Winter Graduation
2015-06-26

Live streaming will be available on: http://livestream.ufs.ac.za/

The 2015 Winter Graduations are almost underway. The highlight on the university calendar for every graduate will take place on the Bloemfontein Campus on 1-2 July 2015. On 1 July 2015, diplomas will be awarded by the Centre of Financial Planning Law (331 in total) and the School of Open Learning (376 in total). On 2 July 2015, a total of 1 220 master’s and doctoral degrees will be awarded to graduates from all seven faculties.

A highlight at this year’s Winter Graduation is the awarding of three honorary degrees by the university. Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, Dr Mercy Oduyoye and Mr John Samuel will receive honorary degrees.

On 17 August 2012, Ambassador Brahimi was appointed by the United Nations as the new peace envoy to Syria, replacing Kofi Annan. He is also a member of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, the first global initiative to focus specifically on the link between exclusion, poverty and the law. Prof Heidi Hudson, Head of the Centre for Africa Studies at the UFS, will receive the honorary degree on his behalf.

Dr Oduyoye is widely regarded as one of the most influential women theologians Africa has produced in recent history. Currently, she directs the Institute of African Women in Religion and Culture at the Trinity Theology Seminary in Legon, Ghana.

Mr John Samuel, who will receive an honorary award, is also scheduled to be a guest speaker at the two ceremonies on 1 July 2015.

Wednesday 1 July 2015:

John Samuel will be the speaker at both ceremonies. He is one of South Africa’s leading education experts with international and national experience, covering a period of more than forty years. He was involved in the founding of the South African Campaign: Public Participation in Education Network (PPEN), established the Centre for Education Policy Development, the Joint Working Group (for The National Party Government and the ANC), the National Education Conference, and the National Education and Training Forum. He also made leadership contributions to the First Education and Training White Paper, the Transformation Strategy for the National Education Department, and the first Green Paper on Higher Education.

John is also Senior Programme Director of the WK Kellogg Foundation in the USA. He has also been the Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and the CEO of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.

Thursday 2 July 2015:

Nataniël will be the speaker at both ceremonies. Nataniël is a singer, songwriter, and South African entertainer, who has crossed from the alternative circuit to the stage. For the past 10 years, he has become well-known for his outspoken Kaalkop column in SARIE magazine. His solo career was launched in 1987 and, since then, he has released 16 albums, staged more than 70 original theatre productions, and published 15 books. Over the past two decades, Nataniël has gained the title of South Africa’s leading exponent of the solo stage act. He manages Kaalkop Studio, his lifestyle retail company, and records on his own independent label, Nataniël House Of Music. He is an ambassador for Child Welfare SA, and also heads his own charitable foundation, The Nataniël Progress Project.

 

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