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Oprah warms up chilly Bloemfontein
2011-06-24

 

Mr John Samuel (left), interim Director of the International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice; Dr Winfrey, and Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector.
Photo: Rian Horn 

Transcription of speech

Photo gallery

Video clip

Dr Oprah Winfrey brought Bloemfontein a warm day in the middle of a bitter cold winter. Outside the Callie Human Centre of our university, people were shivering in temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius.

Inside, however, the audience was engulfed in the excitement and warmth of a very special occasion: media icon and philanthropist Dr Winfrey received an honorary degree in Education from our university. 

The graduation was probably the biggest ceremony of its kind in South Africa. The Callie Human was packed with more than 4 500 people who had jumped for the opportunity to attend one of the great milestones in the existence of our university. They had to brave long queues to obtain tickets and to get seated. However, this just added to the excitement of seeing Dr Winfrey in real life. 

The ceremony was like a huge reunion or festival. Some people had called in designers to dress them for the occasion, while others fetched their very best clothes from their wardrobes. People tweeted, sent SMS messages, phoned or brought their families with them. Cell phones and cameras captured the occasion.

The graduation ceremony was also an emotional moment for Dr Winfrey, who shed silent tears.

Her motivational talk afterwards was very inspiring. Dr Winfrey said that everybody can be successful. They just need to apply their minds to what they want.

“Never give up. You are not defined by your circumstances. There is hope. Have a vision and let that vision be bigger than yourself. Allow yourself to live in that space of yourself,” Dr Winfrey said.

About 100 volunteers from the univeristy community helped by among others showing guests to their seats, providing guests assistance with parking and taking care of general enquiries from the audience.

The university received messages of congratulations from all over for the arrangements and the professional way in which the ceremony was presented.
 

Media Release
25 June 2011
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: +27 51 401 2584
Cell: +27 83 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za


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