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Inauguration of University of Gdańsk 50th anniversary jubilee year
Highlights of the University Day and the inauguration of the UG’s 50th anniversary included the presentation of Polish national decorations, the Krzysztof Celestyn Mrongovius Teacher of the Year awards, the UG Rector’s Scientific Awards, nominations for the first University of Gdańsk Council and the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the late President Lech Kaczyński, professor of the University of Gdańsk. To mark the celebrations, a concert was held by the Academic Choir of the University of Gdańsk.
20 March 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the university, at present the largest in the Pomeranian region, and one which has had an indisputable influence on the development of modern Poland, science and higher education. The University of Gdańsk celebrates its day annually on this date, and this year, during the formal sitting of the UG Senate, held to mark the occasion, the Rector of the University of Gdańsk, Prof. Jerzy Piotr Gwizdała, inaugurated the 50th anniversary jubilee year.
University of Gdańsk Day was held on 20 March 2019 at the Theatre Hall of the Neophilology building of the Faculty of Languages. The ceremony was attended by Pomeranian Members of Parliament, representatives of national, regional and church authorities, the diplomatic corps, rectors of universities, representatives of scientific and public institutions as well as Pomeranian companies, media and the UG’s academic community.
In his speech, the Rector, Prof. Jerzy Piotr Gwizdała, recounted the history of the University’s founding and presented the present-day achievements of its employees and students.
“With valiance and optimism we are now entering a new chapter in the history of the University of Gdańsk. We are aware not only of the opportunities ahead but also of the dangers which we should not ignore. However, we are not afraid of the challenges which await us and wish to declare effective work, courage of thought and openness to others and the world. I would like to thank the entire university community and all those who for the past 50 years have been building the prestige and position of our university for the understanding of our joint mission and our everyday tasks.”
Congratulatory letters with wishes were delivered on the occasion. Letters were read out on behalf of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki by the Pomeranian Voivode Dariusz Drelich; on behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gowin, Minister of Science and Higher Education, by Karol Rabenda, Councillor of the City of Gdańsk, and on behalf of Jadwiga Emilewicz, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology, by Magdalena Sroka, Councillor of the Pomeranian Regional Assembly. Congratulations and wishes on behalf of the Mayor of the City of Gdańsk, Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, were delivered by Piotr Kowalczuk, Deputy Mayor of Gdańsk for education and social services.
During the celebrations national decorations were presented. Prof. Adam Krężel received the Gold Cross of Merit, while the Silver Cross of Merit was awarded to Dr hab. Małgorzata Witak. University of Gdańsk employees also received gold, silver and bronze medals for long-standing service. The national decorations ceremony was conducted by Rachela Wysocka, representative of the Pomeranian Voivodeship Office and the decoration, on behalf of the President of the Republic of Poland, was conducted by Minister Adam Kwiatkowski from the Presidential Chancellery.
This year also saw the University of Gdańsk Rector’s Scientific Awards being presented for the first time. The Award was established by a Rector’s Decree and presented to the best University of Gdańsk scientists for outstanding research and research and development achievement. Joint award went to Dr Ernest Czermański, Prof. Katarzyna Hebel, Aleksander Jagiełło M.A., Dr Michał Suchanek, Dr Marcin Wołek and Prof. Olgierd Wyszomirski from the Faculty of Economics (social sciences). Individual awards were presented to: Prof. Adam Liwo from the Faculty of Chemistry (exact and natural sciences), Prof. Maria Mendel from the Faculty of Social Sciences (social sciences), Prof. Małgorzata Omilanowska from the Faculty of History (humanities) Prof. Marc-Andre Selosse from the Faculty of Biology (exact and natural sciences) and Prof. Anna Zamojska from the Faculty of Management (social sciences). The award ceremony was conducted by Prof. Piotr Stepnowski, Vice-Rector for Research and International Cooperation.
Each year the University of Gdańsk Day celebrations also witness the presentation of the Krzysztof Celestyn Mrongovius Teacher of the Year awards to the University of Gdańsk best academic teachers. This year’s laureates included: Prof. Joanna Mytnik from the Faculty of Biology, Dr Anna Dziadkiewicz from the Faculty of Management and Dominik Bień M.A. from the Faculty of Social Sciences. 2019 Distinctions were awarded to Prof. Krzysztof Kornacki from the Faculty of Languages, Dr hab. Patrycja Koszałka from the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology UG and MUG and Hanna Szpilczyńska M.A. from the Foreign Languages Centre.
The Teacher of the Year Award is presented annually for outstanding didactic achievement. Those University of Gdańsk academic teachers who receive the award combine their academic, didactic and organisational skills and enjoy exceptional esteem among students. The award ceremony was conducted by Prof. Anna Machnikowska, Vice-Rector for Education.
During this year’s University of Gdańsk Day, the Rector of the University of Gdańsk presented nominations to members of the first University of Gdańsk Council, established on the basis of the new Law on Higher Education and Science. The Council comprises: Dr Marek Głuchowski – Honorary Consul of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – President of the Council, Maciej Dobrzyniecki M.A. – Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of Spain, Chancellor of the Gdańsk Branch of Business Centre Club, Dr Eng. Kazimierz Janiak – Director of the Gdańsk branch of Totalizator Sportowy, Prof. Ewa Łojkowska – Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology UG and MUG, Prof. Dorota Pyć – Faculty of Law and Administration, Prof. Grzegorz Węgrzyn – Faculty of Biology and Agata Myszka – Chair of the Student Parliament.
An important part of the celebrations was the formal unveiling of a plaque commemorating the late Lech Kaczyński, President of the Republic of Poland and Professor of the University of Gdańsk. In March 2018 the Senate of the University of Gdańsk, having consulted the UG Convention for Honorary Distinctions, agreed that the commemorative plaque be placed on the Faculty of Law and Administration building. The late President worked at the Faculty of Law and Administration between 1972-1997. He was a specialist in labour law and many of his former students still have links to the university.
The unveiling ceremony was held in front the Faculty of Law and Administration building and was attended by the highest state authorities and invited guests. The ceremony was opened by the Rector, who spoke of the period in the late Lech Kaczyński’s life spent at the University of Gdańsk. A letter was read out on behalf of the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda by Minister Adam Kwiatkowski from the Presidential Chancellery. Marek Kuchciński, Marshal of the Sejm, spoke on behalf of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland, recounting the achievements of the late President and his involvement in academic work. During the ceremony the floor was also taken by Prof. Wojciech Zalewski, Dean of the Faculty of Law and Administration and Tomasz Rakowski, Chairman of the Tożsamość i Solidarność Foundation who, alongside Prof. Jakub Stelina, former Dean of the Faculty of Law and Administration, was the initiator of the plaque. Jarosław Kaczyński, brother of the late President, could not attend the ceremony but a letter on his behalf was read out by Prof. Jakub Stelina, former doctoral student of the late President. Mr. Kaczyński expressed his gratitude for the late President being honoured with a commemorative plaque, emphasising that the University of Gdańsk was very important to President Kaczyński and that the academic environment was natural to him even though he was also constantly involved in public matters.
The ceremony was attended by the daughter of the late President, Ms Marta Kaczyńska, also a graduate of the University of Gdańsk, who, accompanied by Marshal Marek Kuchciński and the Rector of the University of Gdańsk, Prof. Jerzy Piotr Gwizdała, formally unveiled the plaque. After the unveiling ceremony, the plaque was blessed by the Metropolitan Archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głódź and flowers were laid by delegations of national authorities, Pomeranian members of parliament and invited guests. Following the ceremony, an exhibition of scientific papers by the late President was opened at the UG’s Faculty of Law and Administration and a seminar dedicated to him took place.
This year’s University of Gdańsk Day was very special as it opened the 50th anniversary jubilee year. Alongside the formal opening, the calendar of events also includes the inauguration of the academic year 2019/2020, the main events, which have been planned for 20 March 2020 (the University’s 50th anniversary), as well as concerts. Scientific conferences dedicated to the history of the UG are being organised, such as, for example, “History of the University of Gdańsk against the background of the history of higher education in Pomerania”, “50 years of the development of the UG for the development of the Pomeranian region and Poland” or thematic conferences prepared by particular faculties. Publications are being prepared on the University’s past and present days such as, among others, “50 essays for the 50th anniversary”, reminiscences of graduates or people linked to the University of Gdańsk, archive material or albums. The list of important events comprises the opening of the exhibition at the newly created Museum of the University of Gdańsk, graduate reunions, open debates and sports events.
The occasion was marked by a concert of the UG Academic Choir under the direction of Prof. Marcin Tomczak. During the University of Gdańsk Day, the Choir gave the first rendition of "A Fanfare for a mixed choir a capella" by the composer Michał Kazimierz Ossowski, a piece composed as part of the competition announced for the University’s jubilee anniversary, which will be performed during the celebrations.
As tradition has it, University of Gdańsk Day is finished off with an evening concert. This year saw the performance of the University of Gdańsk Song and Dance Ensemble JANTAR, entitled “foLkOVE”, whose programme comprised the most beautiful songs and dances inspired by Polish folklore.
University of Gdańsk in brief
The University of Gdańsk was founded on 20 March 1970 from an amalgamation of the Higher Economics School in Sopot and the Higher Pedagogical School in Gdańsk. It is a dynamically developing university which combines tradition and innovation. It offers education in nearly all fields of academic knowledge, in professions sought after on the job market and in state-of-the-art facilities in one of the largest university complexes in Pomerania, expanded as the University of Gdańsk Campus.
Currently, the University of Gdańsk is the largest higher education institution in the Pomeranian region. It comprises eleven faculties with almost twenty six thousand students, doctoral students and post-graduates and over one thousand seven hundred research and didactic staff. Such fields of study as Biology, Biotechnology, Chemistry, Oceanography, Quantum Physics, Pedagogy, Psychology, Law or Economic Sciences are considered amongst the best in the country.
The University of Gdańsk strives for sustainable development in the fields of science and education, while enhancing its cooperation with business and strengthening its internationalisation.
The University of Gdańsk provides education in almost 80 fields of study at all levels of education, with the introduction of nine new fields of study being considered for the academic year 2019/2020: Applied Informatics, Health Care Institution Management, Production of Audio-Visual Forms, Pre- and Early School Pedagogy, Insurance – Interdisciplinary Studies, Criminology and Criminal Justice (studies conducted in English), Physical Geography and Geoinformation, Socio-Economic Geography with Elements of GIS as well as part-time studies in Health Care Technology. These innovative courses answer the needs of the job market and take account of contemporary challenges. They are all interdisciplinary in character, with the study programmes being devised in cooperation with experts and prospective employers. Admissions to all fields of study at the University of Gdańsk will begin on 20 June 2019.
The University of Gdańsk can also boast significant scientific achievement, thus strengthening its leading position in the region. At present the University is involved in the implementation of 62 international scientific, research and development and didactic projects to the total value of 194 million PLN. It is also implementing 230 domestic scientific and development projects to the total value of over 147 million PLN (mainly long-term projects spanning a period of several years, with the amount given referring to the entire funding). The University is carrying out intense work aimed at enhancing the quality of the scientific research conducted and has received funding to this effect as part of the “Excellence Strategy – Research Institution” programme by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
Among one of the greatest successes of the University of Gdańsk in recent years has been its participation in the special programme by the Foundation for Polish Science – International Research Agendas, based on creating innovative centres of excellence in Poland with the participation of the best researchers from the entire world. The University of Gdańsk has won the programme twice, receiving 76 million PLN to create two agendas: the International Centre for Cancer Vaccine Science and the International Centre for Theory of Quantum Technologies.
A number of prestigious undertakings include the university-wide project “PROgram Rozwoju Uniwersytetu Gdańskiego”, financed from the European Social Fund as part of the Operational Programme Knowledge Education Development. The University can also boast successes in applying for grants from the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA). As part of the Polish Returns programme, three projects (from a total of 22 across the country) are being implemented at the UG. The University of Gdańsk has also received funds to implement 8 projects as part of the European Union’s largest research programme – Horizon 2020, which gives the University good standing with regard to innovation.
The University of Gdańsk also stands out among other Polish universities through the maritime nature of its scientific research and education. The University implements its motto of “In mari via tua” (the sea is your way), thus serving the development of the Pomeranian region, whose wealth is the very sea itself. It has been actively involved in Baltic cooperation through the implementation of numerous international scientific projects as part of the Horizon 2020, Interreg or Bonus-185 programmes. It is also leader of the National Centre for Baltic Research Consortium which comprises Pomeranian universities and research institutes.
Investments to be implemented in the academic year 2019/2020 include the construction of the new Institute of Informatics. The building will hold classes for students of the newly-created field of study at the UG – Applied Informatics, whose programme has been devised in cooperation with employers, with some classes being conducted by expert practitioners. It will be one of the most modern institutes in Poland, with lecture rooms, laboratories and equipment to meet the needs of 21st-century research and didactics. The investment (to be completed in the second part of 2019) forms part of the 2014 - 2020 Regional Operational Programme for the Pomeranian Voivodeship and is a response to the needs of the job market as regards the employment of IT specialists. Other plans include the building of the University Sports and Recreation Centre.
Dr Beata Czechowska-Derkacz, University of Gdańsk press officer