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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 Autumn Graduation inspires perseverance
2015-04-20

 

Louzanne Coetzee and her guide dog, Oakley after she received her degree at the UFS’s Autumn Graduation.
Photo: Gerhardus Bosch

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Prof Himla Soodyall
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Leanne Manas
Dr Maria Phalime
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Autumn has seen the UFS’s first graduation ceremonies of the year on the Bloemfontein Campus. From 14 to 17 April 2015, a total of 3 660 graduates were rewarded for their hard work while top speakers addressed them in the Callie Human Centre.

UFS Chancellor, Dr Khotso Mokhele, commented the more than 250 students who passed their degrees with distinctions at the autumn graduation.

Prof Soodyall, a Medical Scientist at the South African Institute for Medical Research as well as  Principal Medical Scientist for the National Health Laboratory Service, and Director for the Human Genome Diversity and Disease Research Unit at the University of Witwatersrand delivered the first motivational message of the April Graduation. The group of graduates in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences listened as she shared her story with them.
 
"My own career – with no grand design or script – steered me into conducting genetic research on human populations from sub-Saharan Africa with a focus on a better understanding of human evolution, and to reconstruct the prehistory of African populations. While giving graduates a glimpse on how her career progressed, Prof Soodyall said: "I share these stories with you to give you some reassurance that you do not need feel that you have to figure out every minute detail of where to from here. Things fall into place with hard work, dedication, and dreams.

The developed world is forging ahead with interventions, so the gap between the developed world and the developing world continues to grow bigger. Prof Soodyall said: “You have the unenviable opportunity to think strategically, and to use the modern tools in your respective fields to make significant advances to transform our society, and to contribute to making it a better place for all. We need to embrace the current challenges, and build networks and bridges across disciplines to close the gaps, to work beyond the cultural barriers, and to ensure equity in access to health, water, education, etc, for all, as we would wish these things for ourselves and our families.

Read the full story of the Autumn Graduation 2015

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