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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

Kovsie student on his way to the record books
2011-10-12

 

Hermann van Heerden
Photo: Gerhard Louw

Ten hours. That’s how long Kovsie student Hermann van Heerden held a stationary wheelie in his wheelchair by lifting the front wheels of his wheelchair. The second-year disabled student now stands to get his name in the Guinness World Record Book for the longest stationary wheelie in a wheelchair.

Starting at 03:15 and holding on until 13:15 on Tuesday, 11 October 2011, Hermann achieved what he set out to do. Now he is waiting for the Guinness World Record office to verify his world-record attempt.

The minimum time set for Hermann to achieve a Guinness World Record was four hours, but the B.Ed. student went six hours over this time, wheeling non-stop for ten hours. During this time the Kovsie student had no food or water over his lips, nor was he allowed to go to the bathroom.

Hermann’s Guinness World Record attempt forms part of the ten-year celebrations of the Unit for Students with Disabilities (USD) at the University of the Free State (UFS).

Accomplishing his record attempt, a tired Hermann said the first thing he wanted to do was to eat. Hermann, who was born with spina bifida, a developmental congenital disorder, said he did not have a lot of preparation for his world-record attempt, as he had always been in a wheelchair.

According to the Guinness World Records press office, the closest record to the one Hermann set out to achieve, is for the longest continuous wheelie in a wheelchair. This was achieved by Michael Miller from the USA who covered a distance of 16, 12 km on the rear wheels of his wheelchair.

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