The council of the University of the Free State (UFS) said on Friday it has decided to appoint Professor Francis Petersen as Vice-Chancellor and Rector‚ succeeding the respected Prof Jonathan Jansen who has taken up a Fellowship position at America’s Stanford University.
Announcing the decision to appoint Prof Petersen during the quarterly Council meeting on the Bloemfontein Campus‚ the Chairperson of the UFS Council‚ Judge Ian van der Merwe‚ said the university was fortunate to be able to appoint a candidate of such good quality to the position.
Prof Petersen‚ Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Institutional Innovation at the University of Cape Town (UCT)‚ and Prof Lis Lange‚ Vice-Rector: Academic at the UFS‚ were in line for the position. The university’s Selection Committee expressed equal preference for both and the two candidates were therefore recommended to Council for the position.
“It has been a truly participatory and transparent selection process‚ which has assisted in the Council being able to make this decision. The higher-education sector has been through a difficult and challenging time during the past few months and the Council is thankful that a leader like Prof Petersen can head the university in 2017 and beyond‚” said Judge Van der Merwe.
Prof Petersen graduated from Stellenbosch University with a BEng (Chem Eng)‚ MEng (Metal Eng)‚ and PhD (Eng) degrees and completed a short course on Financial Skills for Executive Management. He is a recipient of the Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust Award for research excellence‚ and was visiting professor at the Cape Technikon and extraordinary professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Stellenbosch University. He is a regular reviewer of journals‚ and member of a range of editorial boards for international journals.
Prof Petersen is also a registered professional engineer with the Engineering Council of South Africa and a Fellow of both the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy‚ and the South African Academy of Engineers.
Prof Jansen stepped down as Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS on 31 August 2016.
This article is an extract of an article published in timeslive.co.za on 2 December 2016