Tuesday, 07 December 2021

Bloemfontein: After careful consideration, the executive management of the University of the Free State (UFS) was compelled to assess and rethink its plans for the 2021 December graduation ceremonies due to the discovery of the new Omicron variant and an increase in COVID-19 infection rates in South Africa.

All face-to-face graduation ceremonies scheduled from 08 to 13 December 2021, will now take place virtually.

“After careful consideration – among others, the risk of continuing with our plans to present face-to-face graduation ceremonies, the executive management of the University of the Free State (UFS) has decided to adjust all the ceremonies to virtual broadcasts.” said Professor Francis Petersen, UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor.

Disappointment at not having a face-to-face ceremony

Professor Petersen continued: “Our planning was at an advanced stage to host the graduation ceremonies in a hybrid format on campus in the Callie Human Centre on the Bloemfontein Campus, also enabling live streaming in the H van der Merwe Scholtz Hall.”

“However, the university was compelled to assess and rethink this approach in light of the high infection rates. We share your disappointment at not having a face-to-face ceremony – however, it is extremely important that we do what is in the best interest of our students, staff, families, and citizens of this country.”

According to Professor Petersen, the university community recognises the importance of celebrating students’ achievements in a fitting way. Therefore, our aim is to plan a physical event in 2022 for all our students who were unable to graduate on campus. This intended celebratory event is largely dependent on the easing of social distancing regulations, when large gatherings are possible again.

“Your graduation is the culmination of all your hard work, and all the sacrifices of your loved ones. Therefore, it should be celebrated with flair and become a beacon of pride and gratitude in your memory bank. Despite not being able to meet in person, we are grateful that technology makes it possible to proceed with this significant event virtually.”

“We are proud of what our Class of 2021 has achieved. Congratulations to all our graduates; I wish you continued success in all your endeavours!”

The graduation ceremonies will be broadcast as follows:

  • Faculty of Education, South Campus: Wednesday, 8 December 2021 at 09:00;
  • Faculty of Education, South Campus: Wednesday, 8 December 2021 at 11:00;
  • Faculty of Education, Bloemfontein Campus and Qwaqwa Campus: Thursday, 9 December 2021 at 09:00;
  • Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences: Thursday, 9 December 2021 at 11:00;
  • Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences: Friday, 10 December 2021 at 09:00;
  • Faculty of the Humanities: Friday, 10 December 2021 at 11:00; and
  • Faculties of Health Sciences, Law, and Theology and Religion: Monday, 13 December 2021 at 09:00.

Further information on the graduation ceremonies can be found at https://www.ufs.ac.za/DecemberGrad