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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

Meet our Council: Marius Swart – a Councillor with deep roots in the UFS
2017-07-12

Description: Meet our Council: Marius Swart – a Councillor with deep roots in the UFS Tags: Marius Swart, University Council, Mediclinic, cardiothoracic surgeon, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery  

Marius Swart, Alumni election on the UFS Council.
Photo: Stephen Collett

Marius Swart, a Kovsie alumnus, is an Alumni election on the University Council. Not only is he a Kovsie alumnus, but all four of his siblings and their spouses are Kovsie alumni, as well as all three his children.   

Interest in future decisions at the UFS
He is currently practicing as cardiothoracic surgeon at Mediclinic in Bloemfontein, but has always been involved with the Faculty of Health Sciences at the university.  He spent eight years as consultant in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and recently became a registered student again when he enrolled for an interdisciplinary PhD.  He is currently also supervisor for the research projects of undergraduate medical students.

Thus, Marius no doubt has a substantial interest in the issues and future decisions at the UFS.

Guard against retroformation
"Higher education is a challenging environment and expectations about excellence and human development are being tested.  Transformation is on everybody’s lips, but we have to guard against what I would call retroformation – moving back to old regimes and new forms of exclusion," he says.

Marius is excited to begin his term with a new Rector and Vice-Chancellor.  He realises that many challenges awaits him as councillor on the way forward, but he is ready to pull his weight in Council.

"My own daughter is involved in the challenges students are experiencing on a daily basis, and my wife is supporting a first-generation rural student.  The university should be sensitive to these students.  Empowering them can bring change to communities."

His interests are varied and it is clear that he has a vision for a better world.

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