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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 attracts excellent and diverse students
2015-08-20


Matshediso Mokoena and Thato Monkoe.
Photo: Thabo Kessah

When Thato Monkoe and Matshediso Mokoena sat for their final matric examinations in 2014, all they had on their minds was not just passing, but passing well. Little did they know at that time that passing well would place so much responsibility on their shoulders.

 

Both Thato and Matshediso come from rural and disadvantaged backgrounds. They are first-year students at the Qwaqwa Campus of the University of the Free State, and are the first in their respective families to study at a university.

 

Thato describes his situation as “sad and good at the same time”.

 

“It is good, because I am the first one at home to have completed my matric and to have gone on to study at a tertiary institution. At the same time, it is sad as I feel sorry for my siblings who, for various reasons, did not have similar opportunities when they opted out of school”, said Thato, a BEd student.

 

”Now my sister and brother, as well as the entire family, perceive me as the one with brains, and this makes me uncomfortable. However, I am up for the challenge to be the first one to graduate with a degree in my family”.

 

Matshediso Mokoena, a BSc student, who obtained distinctions in Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Life Sciences last year, concurs with Thato.

 

”As much as my family is supportive, there is always pressure as they expect the best from me,” she said.

 

“The pressure does not only come from my family. My entire community looks up to me, and they can’t stop talking about my achievements”, Matshediso revealed.

 

Both Thato and Matshediso are, however, happy that the dark cloud of doubt about academic achievement in their families has finally disappeared.

 

“At least someone in my family is hard at work carving her future, and willing to set a good example. That person is me”, said Matshediso, who aspires to be a medical doctor, and has a younger sister in Grade 8.

 

Thato and Matshediso are just two of hundreds of students making good use of the University of the Free State’s commitment to attract excellent and diverse students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, as reflected in the Strategic Plan 2015-2020.


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