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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

UFS Alumni honours four former Kovsies
2008-04-11

The University of the Free State (UFS) will honour four old Kovsies during the Kovsie Alumni Gala Awards dinner on Friday, 16 May 2008.

UFS Alumni chose Juan Smith as the 2007 Kovsie Alumnus of the Year. Dr Sherylle Calder, Dr Derick Coetzee and Prof. André Claassen will each receive the Kovsie Cum Laude Award. This award is made to honour UFS alumni for exceptional achievements and contributions to the UFS.

Juan Smith, member of the victorious World Cup Springbok team and captain of the 2007 Vodacom Free State Cheetahs Currie Cup winners, will receive the 2007 Kovsie Alumnus of the Year award. This award is made to a Kovsie alumnus for outstanding performance on national or international level. Smith made his Springbok debut in 2003 and has received much praise for his contribution to the side since then.

Dr Sherylle Calder and Dr Derick Coetzee will both receive the Kovsie Alumni Cum Laude Award. Both have played a key role in the preparation and conditioning of the Springbok team. Dr Calder has also been highly successful as part of the coaching unit for the English rugby team that won the World Cup in 2003, and the coaching team for the Australian cricket side. She is a pioneer in the field of visual awareness. Dr Coetzee has been the fitness conditioning expert for the Springbok team for the past four years. The success of the team in the World Cup is a testament to his achievements.

Prof. André Claassen will also be honoured with a Cum Laude Award for his contribution in the advancement of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology. He has many personal achievements in his discipline and has received several national and international awards, including one for the first cochlear implants in the Free State. The Cum Laude Award is given to an alumnus for outstanding service or achievement on local, national or international level in his/her field or discipline.

The Gala Awards dinner is a public event and will take place in the Reitz Hall of the Centenary Complex on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein. Microsoft is co-sponsor of the event. Those who are interested in attending can contact Ms Annanda Calitz at 051 401 3382 or alumni@fus.ac.za.

For information regarding the Kovsie Alumni Annual General Meeting, please contact Ms Annanda Calitz 051 401 3382 or Mr Lucas Radebe at 051 401 3751.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454

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