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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

The Shepherd Centre celebrates decade of empowering spiritual leaders
2016-08-01

The Shepherd Centre functions under the auspices of the Faculty of Theology at the University of the Free State (UFS), and arose out of a need for non-denominational adult-learning programmes for those actively involved in the ministry. According to the director, Dr Gerhard Botha, the centre came into being to assist spiritual leaders: “The Shepherd Centre takes on the shepherding responsibility for spiritual leaders of all Christian churches.”

Planning started in 2005, when the need was identified for foundation-phase education in the wider church community. Dr Botha was appointed as the director of the centre in 2006, and given the task of compiling a suitable curriculum. The aim of the curriculum is to enable spiritual leaders to provide current interpretations of scripture for a modern society. From the first handful of students a decade ago, The Shepherd Centre has grown by mid-2016 to 300 adult learners enrolled in the short learning programmes, many of which are catered for at the satellite sites in Kimberley, Koffiefontein, Kroonstad, Qwaqwa/Kestell, Thaba Nchu, Zeerust, and the South Campus of the UFS.

This initiative has extended its reach even further than the boundaries of the Free State. In 2014, Dr Botha and Prof Fanie Snyman, Dean of the Faculty of Theology, visited Ethiopia, and signed an agreement of mutual collaboration with the Full Gospel Church there. In addition, a Shepherds4Africa programme is involved in Christian communities and with Christian religious leaders in several other countries, providing training opportunities to various indigenous churches, with the greater vision of spreading the Word to all countries in Africa and beyond. Dr Botha states that their hope is to provide the tools needed in order to make the community of faith as healthy so as to build its moral fibre.

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