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21 May 2019 | Story Thabo Kessah | Photo Ian van Straaten
Dr Thandi Gumede
Dr Thandi Gumede graduated with a PhD in Polymer Science. She is from Intabazwe, Harrismith.

The Qwaqwa Campus of the University of the Free State was a hive of activity on 17 and 18 May 2019, when over 800 degrees, diplomas, and certificates were conferred on deserving achievers. These included six PhDs and 14 master’s degrees across the four faculties.

Congratulating the graduates on both days, was Africa’s youngest PhD and Industrial Psychology lecturer, Dr Musawenkosi Saurombe, and Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor.

Be like heat

Dr Saurombe started her address by relating her school journey that saw her starting Grade 1 at age 5, thus later matriculating at the age of 15, having skipped Grades 3 and 10. She went on to emphasise the importance of building an honourable character.

“As a graduate, you will soon realise that your degree is useless if you do not have character,” she said to an attentive audience that continued to marvel at her remarkable school history. She encouraged graduates to be like heat that cannot be seen but can only be felt. “Noise can often be seen and heard, but it cannot be felt. However, while heat cannot always be seen, it is always felt. Be like heat and may your presence always be felt,” she said.

Do not focus on yourself

Prof Francis Petersen also encouraged graduates to look beyond their degrees by developing a set of critical values.
 
“For us as the university, this ceremony is not just about your degrees. It is about the values that you must live by,” he said. “As a graduate of the UFS, do not just believe what you are told. Ask questions and engage critically. Secondly, do not just focus on yourself. Remember that you are part of a community and it is your responsibility to make our world a better place for others. You need to be socially responsive to the needs of your community. Thirdly, remember that integrity plays a very important role. This will determine how others value you,” he said.

The two ceremonies also saw three current SRC members graduating. They are Lebohang Miya (BEd FET – Accounting and Business Studies), Duduzile Mhlongo (BA – Geography and isiZulu), and Mhlongo Sinemfundo (BA – Geography and isiZulu).

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Kovsie Alumni honoured
2011-09-05

 

Kovsie Cum Laude winner Maurice Carpede shows his award. With him is Naude de Klerk(left), Kovsie Alumni Chairperson. 
Photo: Foto 24

Dr John Purchase, Chief Executive of the Agricultural Chamber of Commerce, was honoured as Kovsie Alumnus of the Year by the University of the Free State (UFS) during the annual Kovsie Alumni Awards Dinner on 2 September 2011. Dr Purchase and four other former Kovsies were honoured for exceptional achievements and contributions made to the UFS at this glittering event.

The well-known columnist Mr Willem Theron who writes columns for Beeld and Volksblad, was honoured with the Kovsie Ambassador Award. Another well-known Kovsie, the radio and television personality Mr Maurice Carpede was honoured with the Kovsie Cum Laude Award. Carpede shares this award with Mr Koert Pretorius, Chief Executive of Mediclinic South Africa, they received the award jointly. Mr Arie van der Bijl, retired Financial Director of the UFS, was honoured with the Alumnus Award for exceptional service delivered to the UFS.
 
Dr Purchase, who was unable to attend the award ceremony, expressed his appreciation in a pre-recorded message. He said that Kovsies taught him how to be a leader. Theron, a marketer for the Kovsie Alumni Trust who received the Centenary Medal from the UFS in 2004, said in his acknowledgement speech that he feels humbled by this award. He said Kovsies became both his home and his family.
 
Both Carpede and Pretorius mentioned the impact Kovsies had on their lives. Carpede said he became a Kovsie in the years of transition, a time when words like “whites only” were printed on some doors, but despite all of that, he learnt that not all whites were bad. Pretorius, who was honoured for his contribution to private healthcare in the country, said that Kovsies were the key that unlocked several doors for him.  

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