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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

Outstanding alumni celebrated at the Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Awards
2017-08-28

 Description: Outstanding alumni celebrated at the Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Awards  Tags: Outstanding alumni celebrated at the Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Awards

From the left: Former Miss World and UFS Medical student, Rolene Strauss; Rector and Vice-Chancellor,
Prof Francis Petersen; The Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year,
Vian Chinner; and Chancellor of the UFS, Dr Khotso Mokhele. Photo: Charl Devenish

 

Alumni Awards Photo Gallery 

Alumni are the heart and soul of a university, a legacy that lives on for generations, bringing pride to the alma mater. Each year, the University of the Free State (UFS) through the Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Awards, celebrates its outstanding alumni, who have stood out among their peers, making waves in their careers, at home and abroad. The UFS Chancellor, Dr Khotso Mokhele, said the university plays a pivotal role in ensuring that students enjoy a life-long relationship with their alma mater.  He encouraged the UFS management to create opportunities to engage students during their years of study, in order to create this mutually-beneficial relationship into the future.

The Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award, the highest honour accorded to an alumnus, recognises the distinguished national or international achievements of its recipient. The award was presented to Vian Chinner, chief executive officer at Xineoh, a performance marketing company he founded in 2014. The company, based in Bloemfontein, with offices in Cape Town, Oregon in the US, and Vancouver in Canada, specialises in applying mathematical modelling and machine learning to optimise conversion in industries including real estate, mortgage banking and e-commerce. It has generated more than $30 million in revenue for its clients.

The Young Alumnus of the Year Award acknowledges the achievements of alumni who graduated within the past decade and was presented to Leah Molatseli, founder and managing director of Lenoma Legal, who graduated with an LLB at UFS in 2010.

The Cum Laude Award is bestowed upon an alumnus in recognition of excellence in any field, whether vocational or voluntary. The awards in this category were presented to three alumni:

David Abbey, Acquisition and Leveraged Finance Deal Maker at Rand Merchant Bank. David graduated with a BCom Accounting (RU) 2007 and a BCom Hons Accounting (UFS) in 2008.

Johan Eksteen, Agricon Pelleting, graduated with an MSc in Sustainable Agriculture in 1998, and received an MBA in 2005, both at the UFS.

Zola Valashiya, Co-founder and director: Debate Afrika and Schools Projects and Campaigns Manager at Corruption Watch. He graduated with an LLB (UFS) in 2014, and Masters of Public Administration (Central European University, Hungary) in 2016. He is a Mandela Rhodes Scholar (2015) and a Young African Leadership Initiative Mandela Washington Fellow (2017) and is presently featured on the Mail & Guardian list of top 200 young South Africans.

The Executive Management Award:
this service award is presented to an individual who has delivered exceptional service to the UFS and is not limited to alumni of the institution, current students and the community at large. The award was presented to Sarina Cronje, Head of Athletics at KovsieSport.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Science (UFS) in 1977 and a Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education (UFS) in 1983. She is a mother and career woman, whose family carries the same passion and drive for sports that champions are made of.

The Kovsie Ambassador Award is bestowed upon a current student whose achievements have brought him/her distinction, benefited his/her community, and brought credit to the UFS.

Crystal-Donna Roberts graduated with a BA Drama and Theatre Arts (UFS) in 2005. She is an active television, theatre and film actress who has appeared in a multitude of theatre productions in addition to starring in Afrikaans soap opera “7de Laan, Getroud Met Rugby, Montana” and “Vallei van Sluiers” in which she won public favour. She is currently playing the lead role in the internationally acclaimed film, “Krotoa” which has won numerous awards including Best Film at the Harlem International Film Festival in New York. It also won the Award of Excellence at the International Film Festival for Women: Social Issues and Zero Discrimination, and many more.

Franco Smith, Director: Free State Rugby and Assistant Coach: Springboks. He graduated with a BA Human Movement Sciences (UFS) in 1996 and began his career in rugby in 1999 when he was selected for the Free State Under-18 Craven Week team. He became a regular on the Free State Under-20 and the UFS Shimlas teams prior to his Free State Cheetahs debut in 1992. Franco was reappointed backline coach of the Cheetahs and head coach of the Shimlas in 2015. With many accolades to his name an illustrious career in coaching and management over the years, the name Franco Smith should not be foreign to true rugby connoisseurs.

The Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, congratulated all the award recipients: “I applaud all alumni; you have made the city of Bloemfontein and the whole province proud.” The National Executive Alumni Chairperson, Dr Pieter du Toit, congratulated the award recipients and thanked the leadership of the university as well as the event organisers. 

The awards signify the great esteem with which the UFS holds its alumni and the community that helps to drive its vision, cherish its history and pave the way for more outstanding Kovsies of the future.

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