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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 Council unanimously reappoints Dr Khotso Mokhele as Chancellor
2015-04-02

 

Dr Khotso Mokhele, Chancellor of the University of the Free State

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) unanimously reappointed Dr Khotso Mokhele as Chancellor during its quarterly meeting held on 13 March 2015. He was first appointed in this portfolio by the Council on 4 June 2010.

“It is an honour for the Council to reappoint someone of this stature as Chancellor of the UFS. With his solid academic background and high profile in the business world, Dr Mokhele has been a great asset to the UFS. On behalf of the Council and the university community, I extend a word of appreciation for the work he has done during his first term as Chancellor of the UFS. He is an exceptional leader, and the university community is looking forward to have him as Chancellor for a second term,” said Judge Ian van der Merwe, Chairperson of the UFS Council.

Dr Mokhele was awarded a BSc Agriculture from Fort Hare University, and continued his studies at the University of California Davis (USA) on the Fulbright-Hays Scholarship Programme, completing his MSc (Food Science) and PhD (Microbiology). He was subsequently a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (USA) and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (USA). Dr Mokhele is the recipient of honorary doctorates from nine South African universities including the UFS, and from Rutgers University in the USA.

He was Chairman of the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee for Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland (2007-2011), and served on the South Africa at Large Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee for more than 10 years. As President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Foundation for Research Development (1996-1999) and the NRF from 1999 to 2006, Dr Mokhele played a central role in providing visionary and strategic direction to the South African science system. He was the Founder President of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), Founder President and CEO of the National Research Foundation (NRF), Chairperson of the Economic Advisory Council to the Premier of the Free State (2001-2004), and a member of the Advisory Council on Innovation to the Minister of Science and Technology (2003-2007). His role in securing government and international support for the Southern African Large Telescope Project (SALT) is evidence of his dedication to science in South Africa. The success of this project laid the basis for South Africa being selected to host more than 70% of the Square Kilometre Array, an international mega telescope for radio astronomy.

In recognition of his contribution to the development of science, he was the recipient of the Technology Top 100 Lifetime Achievers Award in 2009 and the National Science and Technology Forum Award in 2005. His role in science is recognised internationally. He was an elected Vice-President: Scientific Planning and Review of the International Council for Science and Chairperson of its Committee for Scientific Planning and Review (2005-2008) as well as a member of the Committee on Developing and Transition Economy Countries of the International Social Science Council (2008-2010). He also represented South Africa on the executive board of UNESCO, and was awarded the Member Legion of Honour of the Republic of France for his work in strengthening scientific ties between South Africa and France.

Dr Mokhele currently serves as Special Advisor to the Minister of Science and Technology, the Honourable Naledi Pandor. His current corporate positions include: Non-Executive Chairman: Board of Directors, Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd (Implats); Lead Independent Non-Executive Director: African Oxygen Ltd (Afrox); Non-Executive Director of Zimbabwe Platinum Holdings Ltd (Zimplats); Hans Merensky Holdings Ltd; and Tiger Brands Ltd. He is the President of the Hans Merensky Foundation (South Africa) and a Trustee of SciDev.Net (a web-based scientific magazine based in London, UK) and Start International Inc (USA).

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