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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 trains Kovsies to become great in world terms – Prof Jonathan Jansen
2016-01-19

Description: First-year welcoming 2016 Tags: First-years, UFS First-years

First-year students from the University of the Free State (UFS) recently attended the welcoming ceremony at the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus.
Photo: Johan Roux

The University of the Free State (UFS) does not train Kovsies to become great in Bloemfontein or even South Africa. The UFS trains them to become great in the world.

With these words, Prof Jonathan Jansen welcomed the first-year class of 2016 to the “home of Wayde van Niekerk, Rolene Strauss, and the 2015 Varsity Cup rugby champions”.

Prof Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, welcomed the newcomers to the start of the “best time of their lives” on 15 January 2016 at the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus. First-years and their parents attended the annual welcoming ceremony.

Prof Jansen congratulated the students on choosing the UFS, and on being part of the elite group that was selected to study at the university.

The UFS received 25 142 applications from newcomers, he said, although there are only about 8 000 places. In 2015, there were roughly 17 500 applications.

He said it was also the most diverse group of applications the UFS had ever received.

Access to education

According to Prof Jansen, the UFS is committed to helping poor students gain access to education, no matter what their background or the colour of their skin.

Lindokuhle Ntuli, the UFS Student Representative Council (SRC) President, said higher education should be more accessible. He said South Africa has allowed education to become commercialised.

“The sooner we as a country realise education isn’t an expense, but rather an investment, the better,” he said.

UFS campaigns

Prof Jansen thanked the UFS SRC for the Right to Learn (R2L) campaign. Launched by the SRC on 30 October 2015, this campaign has already raised R1.2 million to help academically-deserving underprivileged students to study.

“I have launched a campaign myself to raise R100 million between now and September. About 50% of my time will go into this,” Prof Jansen said.

“I will work tirelessly with Lindokuhle and the SRC to raise money.”

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