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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

Graduates take a bow
2014-04-14

Pride, joy, gratitude and cheer echoed across our Bloemfontein Campus this week as we celebrated the 2014 Autumn Graduation Ceremony.

These prestigious ceremonies did not belong to the graduates exclusively, though. Their parents, family, friends and academics also received several bows of gratitude for their support.

The guest speakers provided a wealth of wisdom and encouragement to the graduates. Dr Ruda Landman, well-known media personality, advised that “success doesn’t just happen, it is achieved.” Comedian Loyiso Gola told graduates to go out and conquer the world – a message that Lucas Sithole cemented. Sithole, ranking at Nr 2 in wheelchair tennis world wide, said that the only one who could stand in your way is yourself. “Today, you have power in your hands. Try to change the world with that power.” Siyabulela Xuza, South African rocket scientist and Harvard graduate, was a true embodiment of his words, “We are equally capable of achieving global innovation.”

After the conferral of the degrees and certificates, Prof Jonathan Jansen reminded the graduates that their “degree will mean nothing” if they cannot distinguish between what is right and what is wrong as they go into the world. When faced with a difficult situation, “base your decision on what is right and what is wrong, not on the colour of someone’s skin, the way they pray, or the way they choose to love,” he urged.

Dr Khotso Mokhele, Chancellor of the UFS, concluded the proceedings by expressing the spirit of this celebration, “I take a bow to you all.”

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