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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 Danie Vermeulen appointed as dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
2016-03-18

Description: Prof Danie Vermeulen Tags: Prof Danie Vermeulen

As the new dean of the UFS Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Prof Danie Vermeulen is resolute to place this faculty on the world map.
Photo: Anja Aucamp

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) approved the appointment of Prof Danie Vermeulen as dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences during its meeting on 11 March 2016.

“Prof Vermeulen brings to the position of dean a set of formidable research and leadership achievements and a track-record of commitment to equity and diversity in the sciences," said Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS.

“It is a great honour that was bestowed on me to lead the faculty and it makes me feel very humble," said Prof Vermeulen.

Fifteen years ago, Prof Vermeulen joined the UFS as a researcher and lecturer. From 2007-2009 he filled the role of acting director of the UFS Institute for Groundwater Studies to subsequently be appointed as not only the director of this institute, but also associate Professor in Geohydrology.

As an alumnus, Prof Vermeulen has strong ties to the UFS. He acquired a BSc Honours, MSc, and PhD Cum Laude in Geohydrology here.This pursuit of excellence also transpires in his aspirations for the faculty’s future. “My vision is that the faculty becomes the best in South Africa in various departments – and recognised throughout Africa, especially in the applied sciences. In addition, the faculty will actively interact with world-leading universities, particularly in the hard sciences.”

Prof Vermeulen is a member of the Executive Committee of the Free State branch of the Groundwater Division of South Africa, member of the Executive Council of the International Mine Water Association, as well as council member at the Fossil Fuel Foundation of South Africa. In the past, he has held membership at the International Association of Hydrogeologists, South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions, Ground Water Division of the Geological Society of South Africa, Water Institute of South Africa, FETWATER Groundwater Initiative, and Editorial Board member of the scientific journal, Water SA.

Prof Vermeulen served as the acting dean for six months prior to his appointment. His appointment commences on 1 April 2016 for a period of five year.

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