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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

UFS celebrates establishment of a new department
2008-09-26

 

 At the celebration of the establishment of the Department of Genetics are, from the left: Prof. Herman van Schalkwyk, Dean: Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the UFS, Prof. Johan Spies, head of the Department of Genetics at the UFS, Prof. Chris Viljoen, associate professor at the UFS Department of Haematology and Cell Biology and previously associated with the Department of Genetics; seated: Prof. Paul Grobler, associate professor at the UFS Department of Genetics.
Photo: Stephen Collett

UFS celebrates establishment of a new department

The establishment of the Department of Genetics in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of the Free State (FS) was recently celebrated on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein.

The department, which formed part of the Department of Plant Sciences, is the only of its kind in the country that conducts research in behavioural genetics. “With behavioural genetics we try to determine if certain human behaviour is hereditary or if it is as a result of the environment. Although this is the fastest growing field of specialty in the United States of America, it is still an unknown field in South Africa,” says Prof. Johan Spies, head of the Department of Genetics.

The other specialty fields of the department are forensic genetics and conservation genetics. “Forensic genetics looks at the compilation of the DNA of animals. Because of our academics’ expertise, the department is regularly requested by the South African Police Service to assist them with establishing the origin of animals – especially in the case of game poaching. We recently completed a research project on cheetahs where we had to establish if they were acquired illegally of part of the farmer’s game. The research showed that the cheetahs were part of the farmer’s own breed,” says Prof. Spies.

Another specialty field of the department is conservation genetics where the genetic variance of animals is researched. A lot of research is done on vervet monkeys to determine from which area in the country they originate. The study must be completed before the 3000 vervet monkeys currently in rehabilitation centres are set free. The behaviour of monkeys in rehabilitation is also being researched.

Prof. Spies says: “Student figures in Genetics show an annual increase of 8% per year for the past five years. The first group of master’s degree students in Genetics will start their studies next year.” The department is also regarded as a leader on Clivia research.


Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za
25 September 2008
 

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