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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

Meet our Councillor Ryland Fisher - media expert, political commentator, art lover
2016-07-13

Description: Ryland Fisher   Tags: Ryland Fisher

Ryland Fisher
Photo: Johan Roux

With more than 30 years’ experience in the media industry as former editor of the Cape Times and New Age, as well as assistant editor of the Sunday Times, and thanks to a profound understanding of the political situation in South Africa, Ryland Fisher was an obvious choice to serve on the Council of the University of the Free State.

Racial issues and diversity

He was born and bred in Cape Town, and studied Journalism at Rhodes University before the political situation in South Africa interrupted his studies. Despite this, Ryland has made a deep impression on the academy. Among others, he presented lectures on racial issues and diversity at the University of Cape Town, the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism in Johannesburg, Emory University in Atlanta, and Ohio University.  

Author and editor

Ryland has published two books, Race in 2007 and Making the Media Work for You in 2002, and was editor of the Official Opus on Nelson Mandela.

He was elected to the UFS Council in 2015. Ryland believes that his particular background and understanding of the media industry, as well as race and diversity issues, will make a valuable contribution to the Council.

Politics, media, and entrepreneurship

"I have proven experience in politics, the media, and entrepreneurship. I often lecture on media and social transformation. I believe this offers me a unique view that could benefit Council," he says.

Ryland has a particular enthusiasm for the arts, and is executive chairman of the Cape Town Festival. He has been married for over 30 years, and his three daughters lie close to his heart.

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