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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 awards its innovative thinkers
2009-11-18

Here are, from the left: Prof. Van Wyk with first-prize winners Precious Setlaba and Themba Motsoeneng and Prof. Muriel Meiring, the students’ promoter.
Photo: Stephen Collett


The University of the Free State (UFS) recently announced the winners of the Innovation Fund Competition. This national competition, which is organised by the Department of Science and Technology aims to promote entrepreneurship through the commercialisation of the innovative ideas of young entrepreneurs.

Every participating educational institution first has an in-house competition in which a total prize money of R100 000 is at stake. At the UFS 14 business plans from students were received and evaluated by six external adjudicators. The three winners now have to take part in Phase II of the competition where 60 competitors from 20 universities will compete. The winners of the National Competition will receive prizes of up to R300 000. This money must be used for the development of the innovative idea with which the prize was won.

The first prize in the UFS’s Innovation Fund Competition of R50 000 was won by Themba Motsoeneng and Precious Setlaba from the Department of Haematology for the development of low-cost diagnostic assays for thrombotic diseases and bleeding disorders with the aim of supplying these test assays at a much lower cost to pathology laboratories all over the country. “This exciting idea appealed to many of the judges, especially because it can contribute to low cost health care in the country,” says Prof. Gerrit van Wyk, organiser of the Innovation Fund Competition at the UFS. The second prize of R30 000 was won by Charl Jaftha, MSc student in Physics. He has developed a low-cost hearing aid the size of a cigarette box. It contains a microphone and electronics to amplify the sound. The third prize of R20 000 was won by Adriaan Taylor and Jaco Brink, both MBA students. They designed a two-in-one lawnmower that would enable the average gardener with a bulky garden to shred the garden refuse and recycle it through composting or disposal through the normal disposal system. “One judge called this a novel use of existing technology,” says Prof. Van Wyk.
 

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