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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

Former CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation receives an honorary doctorate from the UFS
2015-07-08

Dr John Samuel.
Photo: Johan Roux

“Having spent the most of my life in public service, it is a great pleasure to receive recognition from the University of the Free State (UFS) for the work that I have done,” Dr John Samuel said in his acceptance speech at this year’s Winter Graduation, where an honorary degree was conferred on him.

The renowned educationalist’s remarkable merit was recognised by the Faculty of Education in the Thursday 2 July 2015 graduation ceremony. Dr Samuel was awarded the honorary doctorate for his enormous role as a national and international strategist in the education system.

The early 1960s proved to be a prelude to Dr Samuel’s lifelong journey as a teacher, policy analyst, administrator, and advisor. In addition to South Africa, he has served with compassion in various countries including Zambia, Ghana, Nigeria, and the USA.

In the dawn of South Africa’s democracy, Dr Samuel served as Head of the Education desk, developing new policies for the field of education and training. One of his many pivotal achievements has been serving the Nelson Mandela Foundation as Chief Executive Officer. Furthermore, South African’s Department of Education has reaped the benefit of appointing him as the Deputy Director-General.

From 1998 to 2000, Dr Samuel was the Senior Programme Director of the WK Kellogg Foundation in the USA.

The Chief Executive Chairman of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls inspired graduates with warm words. “Graduation is a special time for everyone. It is now the time to convert what we have learnt into useful action. We need every pair of hands to help and inspire, and instill hope,” he said.

Rewarding the active role of a national and global leader in education symbolises the university’s commitment to public service, academic excellence, and transformation.


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