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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

2015 Spring Graduation Ceremony rekindles spirit of Ubuntu
2015-09-22

 

Our graduates: A new generation of future leaders
to advance South Africa

 -  Video: Spring Graduation Ceremony

“Give away your love, attention, care and more.” These words of Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State (UFS), capture the spirit of the 2015 Spring Graduation Ceremony that took place on Thursday 17 September 2015.

On this special day, 599 diplomas and degrees were conferred from the faculties of the Humanities, Education, Law, Theology, Economic and Management -, Health -, and Natural and Agricultural Sciences. Central to both the morning and afternoon ceremonies was the message of Ubuntu.

The essence of humanity

“Here is my advice to you,” Prof Jansen said to the graduates, “whatever you have, give it away. Give away your love, attention, care and more.” Prof Jeffrey Sachs, guest speaker at both events, supported this message by saying that the essence of humanity is the cornerstone to success. Prof Sachs, a prominent American economist and humanitarian, asked graduates to use their hard-earned knowledge wisely, fairly and boldly. “You are the wealth of South Africa, for your knowledge is the key to SA’s prosperity.”

The UFS Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences honoured Prof Sachs by conferring an honorary doctorate on him. With this prestigious conferral, the faculty acknowledges Prof Sach’s extensive work in sustainable economic, social and political development across the globe. Dr Khotso Mokhele, Chancellor of the UFS, commended Prof Sachs for his compassion and passion for humanity. “I’m truly inspired that you agreed to associate yourself with this institution. We are proud to be associated with your excellence,” Dr Mokhele said.

Celebrating the extraordinary

One of many highlights of the day was when Leanne Kunz and Karabo Motlhakoana walked across the stage to respectively receive their Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration and a BSc degree in Information Technology.

Kunz has been compiling news bulletins for The Breakfast Special show, aired on the OFM radio station, for five years. This Kovsie Alumnus graduated with a Media Studies degree a few years ago. Kunz did not allow her successful career at the popular radio station to hinder her studying further, though. Neither has Motlhakoana’s physical challenges.

While everyone else used their hands to take notes, Motlhakoana used his foot. Despite being born with no arms, he was able to beat the odds by qualifying as a computer scientist. Motlhakoana was also involved in the Leadership for Change programme in 2011 which contributed to producing the well-rounded graduate he is today. When walking across the stage, “I felt like I achieved something that gave me a challenge,” he said.

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