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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

Andrew Mellon Foundation renews ongoing support for UFS projects
2017-04-10

Description: ' Andrew Mellon Foundation - Badat Tags: Andrew Mellon Foundation - Badat

Dr Saleem Badat and Annemia van der Heever.

The University of the Free State (UFS) was first awarded a grant by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation (AWMF) in 2015 to fund several projects between 2015 and 2016 under the International Higher Education Strategic projects fund. The programme’s director, Dr Saleem Badat, visited the UFS on 23 March 2017 as part of his annual first-quarter feedback sessions, with not only the UFS but other universities around the country that benefited from the programme. Top of the agenda was a meeting with principal investigators of projects funded by the foundation, to discuss the UFS’s institutional priorities for funding, alongside the university’s management, to discuss possible intra-institutional projects to be undertaken with other universities.

During his visit, Dr Badat met with Prof Nicky Morgan, UFS Acting Vice-Chancellor and Rector, as well as the AWMF representative, Annamia van der Heever, Director: Institutional Advancement. He discussed future plans with managers of the Programme for Innovation in the Artform Development, #Movements project, Inclusive Professoriate Grant and the Curriculum reform programme which involved seven other universities.  

The AWMF, through its projects, is instrumental in developing and maintaining strong higher education institutions that produce knowledge and high-quality graduates, and advances social justice. The projects further aim to deepen and broaden public understanding and support for the arts and humanities, diversity and inclusion. “The Foundation each year presents universities with wonderful opportunities to improve teaching, learning and research in the humanities. We are working hard with the Faculty of Humanities on possible submissions for 2017,” said Van der Heever.

During 2017 between $10.8 million and $12 million will be available for grants by the Foundation’s International Higher Education and Strategic Projects programme. The Vice-Chancellor’s Office will continue to serve as a contact point and administrative support for UFS projects currently funded by AWMF. Institutional Advancement will assist project leaders to draft submissions to the Foundation this year and in the future. In 2018 AWMF will celebrate 30 years of involvement in supporting higher education in South Africa. 

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