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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

Boyden observatory celebrates its achievements
2004-10-05

The red carpet will be rolled out and champagne glasses filled tonight when the Boyden Observatory outside Bloemfontein will launch the first phase of the new science centre.

This phase, which was completed earlier this year, consists of a new auditorium, reception area and paths which connect educational visiting points on the Boyden terrain.

“Over the past two years the Boyden Observatory has been re-sited as a research, educational and public facility. The new facilities are now being utilised for educational and public programmes. The 1,5m Boyden telescope has also recently been upgraded and is used for research purposes,” says Dr Matie Hoffman from the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Department of Physics, who is responsible for the management of the centre.

“The Boyden Observatory is a unique facility of the UFS - we are one of the few universities in the world who has its own observatory,” says Dr Hoffman.

“The main purpose of the science centre is to create enthusiasm for science amongst the public. The centre also has a great educational function and focuses specifically on the improvement of the quality of science education in the Free State,” says Dr Hoffman.

Fund-raising for the planned second phase of the science centre, which will consist of interactive in- and outside exhibition areas, will also start tonight. “After the completion of the second phase the Boyden Observatory will probably become the most accessible and public-friendly observatory in the country and a great asset for the Free State Province,” says Dr Hoffman.

A small robotic telescope, which will be controlled from the University College Dublin in Ireland, will also be installed at the Boyden Observatory this year.

“Just as this year is a significant one for the UFS with its centenary celebrations, so it is also a significant one for the Boyden Observatory. The Harvard University in the United States of America started with the construction of the original 1,5 m telescope in its original form 100 years ago, the telescope was put in place at Boyden 70 years ago and Mr Uriah Boyden – the person who donated the money with which the Boyden Observatory was constructed, was born 200 years ago,” says Dr Hoffman.

The first phase of the science centre was built with funds sponsored by the AngloGold Fund, the Shuttleworth Foundation, the Charl van der Merwe Trust and the Lila Theron Trust. Donations from the Friends of Boyden Observatory and other individuals also contributed to the success of the project.

Those who are interested in educational tours of the science centre can contact Dr Hoffman at (051) 401-2322.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
5 October 2004

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