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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

New Rector and Chancellor inaugurated at UFS
2003-02-07

NEW RECTOR AND CHANCELLOR INAUGURATED AT UFS

 Newly inaugurated Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State, Prof Frederick Fourie, has recommitted the university to the service of the broader community, through the pursuit of academic excellence and contributing to building a non-racial, democratic and just South Africa.

To make this a reality Prof Fourie proposed a social contract or accord between university constituencies and the community to chart the way forward to establishing a university that can meet the challenges of a developing democracy.

Prof Fourie was speaking at his inauguration ceremony on the Bloemfontein campus, where the former Ambassador to the United States, Dr Franklin Sonn, was also inaugurated as Chancellor of the UFS.

The twin inauguration ceremony – the first in the history of the UFS - was attended by former President Nelson Mandela, Education Minister, Kader Asmal, Free State Premier Winki Direko, and the executive mayor of Mangaung, Mr Pappie Mokoena, who all endorsed the appointments as evidence of the transformation of the UFS.

According to Prof Fourie, the greatest contribution that any university could make to social and economic development in South Africa was by being an excellent university that encouraged critical inquiry, scientific knowledge as well as community service.

“So whilst we cherish and foster the continuity of the university as part of the ageold international tradition of universities, this University embraces its particular role in this country now, embraces the changes in the form and scope of its role in this crucial period of our history. We are committed to making a real difference to the new nation,” he said.

His vision for the UFS was “to be a university of excellence, equity and innovation – a leader in research, teaching, community service, adult learning, transformation, non-racialism, non-sexism, multi-culturality and multilingualism – a contributor to our country and our continent’s growth and development – a truly South African university”.

Prof Fourie said the recent incorporation of the Qwaqwa campus of the University of the North into the University of the Free State, which is the first such incorporation to take place, would contribute to broadening access for poor communities to higher education. Introducing an innovation to the inauguration ceremony, Prof Fourie and the UFS staff pledged to their commitment to excellence and justice, quality and equity. Fourie is the 13th Rector of the University of the Free State, succeeding Prof. Stef Coetzee, and Dr Sonn is the 6th Chancellor, succeeding Ms Winkie Direko, Premier of the Free State.

In his inaugural address, Dr Sonn said the significance of today’s ceremony was that the UFS - as a former institution of the Afrikaner – had chosen to walk the path of justice and not merely survival. “This university has seemingly liberated itself. It is inclusively South African.

He said the academic community must play its role of vigilance and not indifference”. Referring to the stature of former president Mandela in international affairs, Dr Sonn said: “We must bring the weight ot science and critical analysis and interpretation to bear in support of Madiba and other moral giants.”
 

 

Inauguration Speech by Prof. Frederick C.v.N. Fourie  (PDF format)

Inauguration Speech by Dr Franklin A. Sonn (PDF format)

Statement by the Minister of Education, Professor Kader Asmal (PDF format)

Speech by Prof. Viljoen (PDF format)

Speech by Executive Mayor Mokoena - Mangaung Local Municipality (PDF format)

 

 

 

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