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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

Prof Luyt says young researchers should not allow circumstances to determine their future
2016-02-01

Description: Prof Riaan Luyt Tags: Prof Riaan Luyt

Prof Riaan Luyt, an NRF B-rated researcher
Photo: Supplied

Young researchers, who spend their life at a disadvantaged and rural campus like the University of the Free State’s Qwaqwa Campus, should not be deterred from achieving their dreams.

This is the view of Prof Riaan Luyt, former Assistant Dean in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, who achieved his B-rating by the National Research Foundation (NRF) late in 2015. This was by far the highest-ever rating on the Qwaqwa Campus.

“When I moved to the Qwaqwa Campus many years ago, having had the opportunity to do a post-doctoral fellowship in Polymer Science at the Leeds University in the United Kingdom, I was determined to get the Department of Chemistry off the ground, and to embark on serious research,” said Prof Luyt, who is now the Affiliated Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Research Associate Professor at the Centre for Advanced Materials, based at Qatar University.

“It was through sheer determination that I managed to obtain enough funds to equip a decent research laboratory. There were many obstacles over the years, but I managed to attract more and more postgraduate students and published more,” he said.

At first, Prof Luyt was not successful with his NRF-rating applications.

“My first couple of attempts to get rated produced no success. I was then awarded a C3-rating, which was later followed by C2 and then C1,” he added. “Getting a B-rating is the highlight of my research career. It shows that it can be done. Young researchers should not allow their past or present circumstances, or their work environment to stand on their way,” said Prof Luyt, who has supervised 38 master’s and doctoral students as well as 11 postdoctoral fellows. He has also published 185 papers in international and accredited journals.

Although abroad, Prof Luyt will continue to supervise eight postgraduate students at the Qwaqwa Campus.

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