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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 strengthens ties with Mexican university
2010-05-11

 At the First Joint Subcommittee on Technical, Scientific and Technological Co-operation were, from left: Prof. Nahum Marban-Mendoza, Chairperson of the Department of Agroparasitology, UACH; Dr Gisela Pena-Ortega, Director of the Office for International Affairs and Academic Exchange, UACH; Prof. Wijnand Swart, Director of UFS Strategic Academic Cluster 4: Technologies for Crop Industries in Semi-arid regions; and Dr Victor Pinto, Department of Parasitology, UACH.
Photo: Mercedes Cuenca


In 2006, the University of the Free State (UFS) signed an institutional agreement with the Autonomous University of Chapingo (UACH) in Mexico. This made the UFS the first South African academic institution to establish scientific relations with Mexico.

It was for this reason that Prof. Wijnand Swart, Director of the UFS Strategic Academic Cluster 4: Technologies for Crop Industries in Semi-arid regions, was invited to participate in the First Joint Subcommittee on Technical, Scientific and Technological Cooperation held recently in Mexico City. During his visit, Prof. Swart secured the working relationship between the UFS and the UACH.

During the first meeting of the Mexico-South Africa Bi-national Commission, the Mexican Foreign Secretary and Minister of Foreign Affairs and South African Minister for International Relations and Cooperation signed a joint statement. The statement, “Mexico and South Africa: Towards a Priority Relationship”, together with a Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement, will lay the foundations for monitoring existing collaboration and promote new actions between institutions in Mexico and South Africa.

Prof. Swart spent the remainder of his stay in Mexico presenting lectures to staff and students at the UACH on integrated pest management and challenges facing South African agriculture. He also engaged in discussions with Dr Gisela Pena-Ortega, Director of the UACH Office for International Affairs and Academic Exchange, about the establishment of a staff and student exchange programme with the UFS.
 

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