Academic Crest

Welcoming message from the Vice-Chancellor and Principal

Prof Francis Petersen

From the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Francis Petersen

“For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”

The wisdom contained in this African proverb rings true through the ages, echoing in all sectors of society, reverberating in local, regional, and global contexts.

At the University of the Free State we have a clear vision of where we want to be within the next few years, leading up to the year 2034, when the university will be 130 years old. This vision is encapsulated in our Vision 130, which expresses our intent and commitment to be acknowledged by our peers and society as a top-tier university in South Africa, ranked among the best in the world. 

Equally important to this clear vision is our strategy for how to turn vision into reality. We are focused on consistently renewing and reimagining ourselves in order to effectively impact the communities that surround us. And we aim to do this by building on our enduring strengths and successes, established and honed since our inception in 1904. We are proud of our consistent growth in student success, brought about by a holistic approach to student development, our continued contribution to scarce skills areas in our country and our region, and our increasing curricular relevance and graduate employability. We are consistently improving our research productivity and expanding our number of leading researchers, with distinctive research areas continuously developing. 

We want to build on these solid foundations by increasing our number of postgraduate students, recruiting the best students and scholars from diverse backgrounds, cultivating and expanding cherished partnerships with our wide range of stakeholders, and making maximum use of new and existing technologies to enhance the quality of learning, teaching, research, and business processes. Academic excellence, quality, and impact lie at the centre of our vision. So does maximum societal impact through sustainable relationships as well as a diverse, inclusive, and equitable university culture.

We are setting our sights high, knowing that our institution possesses the necessary human capital, resilience, and innovation to grow from strength to strength. With our final destination firmly in focus, we are guided by shining beacons – in the form of the values that we as a university community subscribe to and cherish. Excellence, Innovation and Impact, Accountability, Care, Social Justice, and Sustainability will always shape and inform our institutional culture and provide a framework for our actions and decisions.

Our ultimate mission is to generate and impart new knowledge that impactfully supports societal development. 

The future higher education landscape will be characterised by unprecedented change, brought about by technological advancement, increased internationalisation, and a renewed focus on the need to actively and sustainably advance societies around the globe. 

It is a future we are boldly and confidently approaching. 

Because we are preparing for it today.

Prof Francis Petersen

Vice-Chancellor and Principal

University of the Free State

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