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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

South African universities: Political flashpoints or centres of academic excellence?
2009-02-11

Joint statement by the Convocation of the University of the Free State (UFS) and The South African Academy for Science and Arts

Are South African universities political flashpoints or centres of academic excellence? This is the theme of an international symposium that will be presented on 26 and 27 February 2009 by the Convocation of the University of the Free State (UFS) in collaboration with The South African Academy for Science and Arts on the Main Campus of the UFS in Bloemfontein.

Several renowned speakers such as Prof. Fernand de Varennes (of the Murdoch Law School, Perth, Australia), Prof. Stef Coetzee (former rector of the UFS and presently the executive director of the Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut (AHI)) and Dr Franklin Sonn (chancellor of the UFS) will take part in the discussion. Matters like diversity, transformation and conflict management, alienation, tolerance, conciliation and solutions will be debated. Members of the Convocation and the Academy are invited to attend and take part in the discussion.

The symposium commences on Thursday, 26 February 2009 at 19:00 in the Centenary Complex with a reception and opening address by Dr Sonn. On Friday, 27 February 2009 from 08:00 the discussion of the theme takes place in the Senate Hall, CR Swart Building. The proceedings are expected to last until 17:00.

A complete list of the speakers and the titles of their addresses are available on request.  

Due to limited seating interested persons are advised to confirm their attendance with Ms Kathy Verwey at 051 401 9343 / verweyke.stg@ufs.ac.za .

Full programme

SA Universities:  Political Flashpoints or Centres of Academic  Excellence? – 26-27 February 2009

P R O G R A M
Chairperson: Judge Joos Hefer
Sponsors: The Centre for Financial Planning Law UFS
The Kovsie Alumni Trust

Thursday 26 February

19:00                           Welcome: Judge  Joos Hefer (President Convocation UFS)
19:10                           Welcome:  Prof. Theuns Verschoor (Acting Rector UFS)
19:20 - 19:50               Dr. Franklin Sonn (Chancellor UFS)
19:50 - 20:20               Mr. Dave Steward (Executive Director, F.W. de Klerk Foundation)
20:25                           Reception

Friday 27 February

08:30 - 09:10               Prof. Fernand de Varennes (Murdoch School of Law)
09:10 - 09:20               Discussion
09:20 - 09:50               Prof. Stef Coetzee (Former UFS Rector)
09:50 - 10:00               Discussion
10:00 - 10:20               Interval
10:20 - 10:50               Prof. Annette Combrink (Rector, NWU, Potch-campus)
10:50 - 11:00               Discussion
11:00 - 11:30               Prof. Pieter Kapp (President, Convocation, US)
11:30 - 11:40               Discussion
11:40 - 12:10               Mr. Sean Moodley (CEO, Desmond Tutu Diversity Trust)
12:10 - 12:20               Discussion
12:20 - 12:50               Dr. Dirk Hermann (Deputy Executive Head: Development, Solidarity)
12:50 - 13:00               Discussion
13:00 - 14:00               Lunch
14:00 - 14:30               Prof. Marlene  Verhoef (Director Institutional Language Directorate NWU)
14:30 - 14:40               Discussion
14:40 - 15:10               Dr. Danny Titus (Executive Director: Culture ATKV)
15:10 - 15:20               Discussion
15:20 - 15:50               Interval
15:50 - 16:20               Prof. Hennie van Coller (Head Dept. Afrikaans, Dutch. German and French UFS, Chairperson SA Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns)
16:20 - 16:30               Discussion
16:30                           General discussion: Dilemma or opportunities?
17:00                           Close


 Statement by:

Judge Joos Hefer
President of the Convocation
Tel: 051 436 1843
Cell: 083 630 1395
E-mail: jjfhefer@telkomsa.net  

Prof Jacques van der Elst
Chief Executive Officer
The South African Academy for Science and Arts
Tel: 012 328 5082
Cell: 082 8807636
E-mail: jvde@akademie.co.za  

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  
10 February 2009

Dr Franklin Sonn,
Chancellor of the University of the Free  State.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

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