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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

‘Leadership is formed through ethical behaviour’
2012-08-20

Mr Edward Kieswetter
20 August 2012

“Being ethical is not about what we can do, it is about what we ought to do.” This is according to Mr Edward Kieswetter, Group Executive of Alexander Forbes Limited. During his lecture to MBA students in the Business School, Mr Kieswetter allowed the audience to engage in a discussion about ethics and leadership in the business world. Mr Kieswetter is also Vice-Chairperson of the UFS Council.

Part of the lecture was discussing South Africa as a country that was not born in ethics. Mr Kieswetter commented that although context was is very important in making decisions, South African people tended to, for example, and “feed on corruption, instead of acting actively against it”. Questions about South Africa’s ethical foundation were raised. Mr Kieswetter explained that one of the greatest challenges with the South Africans was to help them understand that a person always had a choice. “If you have to compromise on your own values, you are not doing anybody justice.”

Ethics can promote common and social goals if they are not determined by what people feel and strive to reach beyond the barriers that religious beliefs put up. He shared of his life’s most valuable lessons learned about people in leadership positions. “A great leader has incredible self-awareness and displays a huge amount of humility.” He said that in life it was not about being perfect; it was rather about being authentic, even in challenging times where the outcome might affect the current situation negatively. “My greatest successes came from lessons I learned in making mistakes and growing from them.

“If you have nothing to die for, then what is there to live for?” Mr Kieswetter said when asked whether he would compromise his financial position if he did not agree with the ethics of the company he worked for. “By constantly complaining instead of progressing, we are giving up our power to change, and that is a scary thing for South Africa as a developing country.” 
 

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