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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

Kovsies Star of Stars gives back to communities that need it most
2017-01-15

Description: ' 000 A StarOfStars Finalists Tags: StarOfStars Finalists

The 11 Kovsie Star of Stars finalists.
Photo: Charl Devenish

Description: ' 000 A StarOfStars Winner Tags: A StarOfStars Winner

"Doctor" Tshepo Thajane, the 2017 Kovsie Star of Stars.
Photo: Charl Devenish

Starting in 2016, the UFS Marketing department embarked on a project designed to help learners from less fortunate backgrounds to discover their potential. This competition, dubbed Kovsies Star of Stars, recognises excellence in some of the most disadvantaged schools in the Free State. C-Squared Group, a black-owned and -managed agency, is partnering with the UFS in this endeavour. Amongst many other prizes on offer, the winner is awarded a full bursary to study at the UFS.

For the first year, two of the five Free State districts were identified, namely Xhariep and Motheo. Grade 11 and Grade 12 learners were invited to participate in 2016, the winner being announced at a gala event on the Bloemfontein Campus early in 2017, with Success Lekabe as host for the evening.

Nomonde Mbadi, Director of UFS Marketing, says of the contestants, “All 11 Star of Stars finalists had one thing to say that gave the judges goose bumps, and that was: ‘We want to give back to our community.’ This is truly commendable.”

"Doctor" Tshepo Thajane, from Lefikeng Secondary School in Botshabelo, was selected as the winner of the inaugural Kovsies Star of Stars competition. He is pursuing a degree in Actuarial Sciences, and will be a Karee resident. He says, “I loved UFS before I even came here, because of the respect I was shown. And I really didn’t think I would win; it just came as a surprise to me.”

Lebohang Lesenyeho, from Kgauho Secondary School (Botshabelo), had a special word for the organisers. “I would be very honoured if you could include a message to them. We really thank them for this opportunity.”

It is hoped the competition will garner the support of financial sponsors and be expanded to include learners from Grade 9, 10, 11, and 12 across all five districts in the Free State province.

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