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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

Free State University Choir wins competition in Prague
2009-12-15

This past weekend, the Free State University Choir, under the directorship of Mr Corné van Pletzen, won the Christmas Music Festival Competition in Prague in the Czech Republic. 25 choirs from amongst others Spain, Hungary, Slovakia and Russia also participated in the competition.

It is the first time in the 10 years that the Christmas Music Festival Competition is presented that an overall winner of the festival and the competition was announced.

The choir originally only participated in the festival part of the Christmas Music Festival. Later, at the end of the competition, they were asked by the judges to prepare a song for the prize-giving ceremony, not knowing that the judges were judging them for the competition.

Mr Van Pletzen said, “Finally, after all prizes had been handed out, a trumpet fanfare announced the Free State University Choir as the overall winner of the competition. Our choir was also requested to close the competition with a song; that we did, whereupon our students sang the National Anthem with pride and with tears in their eyes.

The choir’s presentation was unique as they included a great variety of songs in their programme, amongst others some of Mr Van Pletzen’s own compositions and a song from Africa, Wana Baraka.

According to Mr Van Pletzen, six of the choirs obtained more than 90% during the competition. The Free State University Choir was however overwhelmed with positive feedback on the standard of their presentation from the audience, other participating choirs as well as the judges.

Most of the 38 choir members have already been members of this choir for three years now and this is the third time that most of them are singing overseas.

They will bring home a beautiful glass trophy.


Mr Corné van Pletzen.

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