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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 mourns passing away of pioneer
2005-09-30

Prof Dudley Vermaak (76), founder and former director of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Research Institute for Education Planning (RIEP), passed away on Friday 23 September 2005 in George as a result of a stroke.  

Prof Vermaak was associated with the UFS for about 23 years.  A Centenary Medal was awarded to him in October 2004 by the UFS for his pioneering work in transformation through his initiatives, during the apartheid era, to empower education officials, teachers and postgraduate students from disadvantaged communities in South Africa. 

He did pioneering work in the eighties with the training of black teachers, especially senior officials and managers in black education, and with the research and training on the improvement of education in the black community.  

“Prof Vermaak was a visionary person who understood the changing South African context in the eighties and started at an early stage with work to improve black schools and the training of black leaders in the education sector.  He was a true pioneer at the UFS.  We are thankful that we could honour him for this with a Centenary Medal last year,” said Prof Frederick Fourie, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

RIEP originally started off as the Research Unit for Education Planning in 1974 under the guidance of Prof Vermaak.  During the apartheid years the institute was intensely involved with research about education in the former homelands.  It was also the only organisation that could provide complete education statistics, which was necessary for planning, about the former homelands. 

RIEP was also involved with service delivery to the so-called independent and self-governing states regarding training in management and planning and support.  Several education officials from these areas undertook their M Ed and D Ed studies with the help of RIEP.  Some post-1994 education and political leaders include e.g. Lionel Mtshali, premier of KwaZulu-Natal in 1999-2004. 

Prof Vermaak was cremated in George.  A memorial service will be held at 10:00 on Saturday 1 October 2005 at the Berg-en-Dal Dutch Reformed Church in Dan Pienaar.  Prof Vermaak is survived by his wife, Marietjie, four children and grandchildren.  He lived in Kiepersol Retirement Village in Bloemfontein for the past six years. 

Media release
Issued by:  Lacea Loader
   Media Representative
   Tel:  (051) 401-2584
   Cell:  083 645 2454
   E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
29 September 2005
 

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