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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

Oxford professor unlocks secrets of DNA
2017-03-31

Description: Oxford professor unlocks secrets of DNA Tags: Oxford professor unlocks secrets of DNA

From left are: Dr Cristian Capelli, Associate Professor
of Human Evolution at Oxford University;
Dr Karen Ehlers, Senior Lecturer and Prof Paul Grobler,
both from the Department of Genetics at the UFS.
Photo: Siobhan Canavan

Many people are interested to know more about their history and origins, and with the help of genetics, it is possible to provide more information about one’s roots.

During a lecture at the Department of Genetics at the University of the Free State (UFS), Dr Cristian Capelli, Associate Professor of Human Evolution at Oxford University in the UK, addressed staff members and students on the history of our species.

Reconstructing the history of human population
With his research, titled: People on the move: population structure and gene-flow in Southern Africa, Dr Capelli looks at reconstructing the history of human populations, focusing mainly on how the different human populations are related, as well as how they exchange genes.

He said this research could be of great significance to the medical field too. “Knowing what the genetic make-up of individuals is, can give us some information about their susceptibility to diseases, or how they would react to a given medicine. Therefore, this knowledge can be used to inform health-related policies.”

Combining individual histories of multiple people
To understand this research more clearly, Dr Capelli explained it in terms of DNA and how every individual receives half of their DNA from their mother and half from their father just as their parents had received theirs from their parents. And so it goes from generation after generation. Each individual stores a part of their ancestors’ DNA which makes up the individual genetic history of each person.

“If we combine these individual histories by looking at the DNA of multiple people, we can identify the occurrences that are shared across individuals and therefore reconstruct the history of a population, and in the same way on a larger scale, the history of our own species, homo sapiens.

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