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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

African issues the core of international conference
2016-02-19

Description: Prof Hussein Solomon Tags: Prof Hussein Solomon

Prof Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor at the Department of Political Studies and Governance of University of the Free State (UFS), expects the Osaka University–UFS Conference to influence African policy makers.
Photo: Supplied

Scholars and policymakers are expected to map out the political, economic, social, and educational trajectory at the Annual Osaka University–University of the Free State (UFS) Conference from 22 - 23 February 2016. The State of South Africa and Conflict Resolution in Africa are the themes of the two-day conference, hosted by the University of the Free State (UFS) on the Bloemfontein Campus.

The Osaka School of International Public Policy, Japan, and UFS Department of Political Studies and Governance have invited international academics, policymakers, and stakeholders in an attempt to reflect on a new path forward for the country and the continent.

Acknowledging problems to deal with them

According to Prof Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor in Political Studies at the UFS, “the idea is not only to map out the scale and gravity of the problems confronted, but also to arrive at policy-relevant conclusions. Both Prof Virgil Hawkins of Osaka University and I have briefed, and will continue to brief, African policy makers, so hopefully they could use this information within their own organisations,” he added.

Mapping the way forward

Papers will be presented by delegates from Osaka University, University of Pretoria, Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique, the Volksblad, the Free State Legislature, the Institute for Global Dialogue and Operations, Glacier by Sanlam, and the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes.

Details of event

Date: 22 and 23 February 2016
Time: 08:45-16:15 and 09:00-14:30
Place: Albert Wessels Auditorium, Bloemfontein Campus
RSVP: Ms Marichen Preller at PrellerMI@ufs.ac.za for catering purposes.

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