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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

Chemistry Department expands its international footprint
2015-10-14

Prof André Roodt

Prof André Roodt from the Department of Chemistry at the University of the Free State has returned from a research visit at the St Petersburg State University in Russia. The research he conducted at the St Petersburg State University is part of a bilateral collaboration agreement between the University of the Free State and St Petersburg State University.

As part of his visit to Russia (from 17 to 28 September 2015), Prof Roodt presented a seminar at St Petersburg State University, and a lecture at the conference titled: International conference on Organometallic and Coordination Chemistry: Achievements and Challenges.

One of the local Russian newspapers quoted Prof Roodt as “world-renowned expert in the study of chemical kinetics and mechanisms of chemical reactions”. His presentation: Are detailed reaction mechanisms really necessary in (applied) organometallic and coordination chemistry' attracted great interest from the St Petersburg chemists.

The bilateral agreement came to life a year ago when the St Petersburg State University chemists won a grant in a competition to create an international research group, the International Laboratory of Organometallic Chemistry. The Laboratory is headed by Prof Vadim Kukushkin of the St Petersburg State University.

In addition to the employees of St Petersburg University, the research group consists of researchers from Portugal, Finland, South Africa, and Azerbaijan. Together, these groups of scientists are working on the problem of non-reactive metal activation molecules. The main theme of the research laboratory is in the catalysis and activation of metal inert molecules which then undergo significant change, and become meaningful to people chemicals, such as drugs.

As part of this initiative, a bilateral collaboration agreement exists between the St Petersburg State University and the UFS (Russian Science Foundation grant 14-43-00017). Students from our university have visited and conducted research at the St Petersburg State University while some of their students visit and research reaction kinetics at the UFS.

Prof Roodt hosted Valeria Burianova, a student from the St Petersburg University. During her visit at the UFS, she learned about response kinetics. A UFS PhD student, Carla Pretorius, joined the group in Russia where she conducted research on the intermetallic rhodium-rhodium interactions for the formation of nano-wires and -plates, with applications in the micro-electronics industry, and a  potential for harvesting sun energy.

The UFS Department of Chemistry extended its international footprint further with three of its students, Mampotsu Tsosane, Petrus Mokolokolo, and Tom Kama, returning from Switzerland after a six-week research visit in the group of Prof Roger Alberto from the University of Zürich. In return, Prof Roodt hosted a Swiss PhD student, Angelo Frei from Zürich, and taught him more about reaction mechanisms.

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