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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

Future economic development lies in humankind’s ability to learn from nature
2015-09-30

We as humans have become more powerful than we are wise. We live in a world where there is an abundance of knowledge but less wisdom. ”These were the opening remarks of Edward Kieswetter, Group CEO at Alexander Forbes, and former Chairperson of the UFS Council, as guest speaker at the UFS Business School on 23 September 2015, on the subject of the future economic world order, and the vast amount of knowledge that humans possess. “The knowledge we possess has the potential either to develop us greatly, or put us at high risk of extinction,” he said.

Mr Kieswetter was accompanied by Dr Idriss Aberkane, a French thinker, entrepreneur, and academic, who is co-founder and CEO of Scanderia Ltd. Dr Aberkane spoke of three new concepts that the world is moving towards: Knowledge Economy, Biomimicry, and the Blue Economy.  He said “humankind’s second renaissance is based on the knowledge economy.”  He added that knowledge is infinite and prolific, with its global quantity doubling every 7 to 9 years. He added that “the combination of forms of knowledge grows exponentially and non-linearly.”

On the subject of Biomimicry, he said “nature is high-tech, we should read it rather than burn it.” High-tech companies, such as Samsung and Apple Inc are beginning to use Biomimicry to produce the most advanced technological gadgets, and even more companies are using the same, to advance the fields of medicine, agriculture, production of apparel, and sustainable development.

The session was attended by MBA students, student leaders, and members of the university community.

The guest speaker series forms part of the MBA programme held at the UFS Business School throughout the year.

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