EventAnnual Celebration of Ruperto Carola

Press Release No. 97/2022
19 Oktober 2022

Opening of the new Academic Year – 636 years since Heidelberg University was founded

Ruperto Carola is opening the 2022/2023 Academic Year with its traditional annual celebration. Members of the university, along with friends, supporters and alumni, will gather on 22 October 2022 for this festive occasion in order to mark the 636th anniversary of the founding of Heidelberg University. At this annual ceremony, Ruperto Carola will continue its tradition of recognising out-of-the-ordinary commitment to the university and promotion of the sciences and humanities by appointing three new honorary senators. This year it will also award an honorary doctorate. In addition, outstanding young researchers and researcher teams will be recognised; they will receive this year’s Hengstberger prizes.

Prof. Dr Bernhard Eitel, Rector of the university, will open the ceremony in the Great Hall of the New University with welcoming remarks and an address. In the following academic conversation on “Scholarship – Freedom – Responsibility” the legal scholar Prof. Dr Paul Kirchhof will reply to questions asked by Heike Schmoll, a journalist with the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper. Appointed professor at the Faculty of Law of Heidelberg University in 1981, he was the director of the Institute for Public Finance and Tax Law for many years. Furthermore, from 1987 to 1999 he served as a federal constitutional judge in Karlsruhe and was involved in many significant decisions. Paul Kirchhof is a senior professor distinctus of Ruperto Carola.

Bettina Hornbach will be admitted to the group of honorary senators in recognition of her “sustained engagement as a committed supporter and good friend of Ruperto Carola, who has excelled with accomplishments in the field of knowledge exchange”. From her responsibility as a hotel manager, she turned this former recreational home into an academic seminar and encounter centre. Dr Tilman Krauch, chair of the board of the association “Zukunft Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar” will also be appointed an honorary senator. This will recognise his “exemplary dedication” to the metropolitan region and to Heidelberg as a centre of science and research, as well as his “energetic promotion and support of the university in implementing its institutional strategy”. The entrepreneur Markwart von Pentz will be made an honorary senator for his special commitment to “the interests of early career researchers” and to “promoting interdisciplinary exchange between students, the business community and policy-makers”.

Heidelberg University pays tribute to the academic activity of Prof. Dr Louise Gunning-Schepers by awarding her an honorary doctorate. The internationally noted scientist, who held various public positions and who taught and did research at the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands), where she also held the office of president, has belonged to the Academic Advisory Council since 2013. In this highest advisory body of Heidelberg University, she “has devoted herself with extraordinary commitment and great academic, strategic and human competence to the concerns of research at Ruperto Carola”, according to the statement of reasons for awarding the honorary doctorate. This applies to her efforts to develop and implement the university’s institutional strategy, her involvement in promoting interdisciplinary dialogue and her support for the concerns of students and young researchers.

Finally, the 2022 Klaus-Georg and Sigrid Hengstberger Prize for early-career researchers will be presented during the annual ceremony. The three awards, each endowed with 12,500 euros, go to Dr Elisa Fresta and Dr Yan Huang from the Institute for Physical Chemistry, Dr Andreas Sander from the Institute for Astronomical Computing, and Dr Philipp Uhl and Dr Florian Umstätter, who work in radiopharmaceutical chemistry at the Heidelberg University Hospital. The award comes with an opportunity for the prize-winners to hold their own scientific symposia at the International Academic Forum Heidelberg (IWH). Dr Fresta and Dr Huang will take up the topic of bio-electronic issues in connection with biological systems. Dr Sander is examining the influence of massive stars on the origin of our elements. The symposium organised by Dr Uhl and Dr Umstätter will feature current issues from antimicrobial research. The director of the IWH, chemist Prof. Dr A. Stephen K. Hashmi, will give the laudatory addresses in the presence of Dr Klaus-Georg Hengstberger, the donor of the prizes.

The musical setting of the annual ceremony will be provided by members of the Collegium Musicum, the university orchestra and choir, conducted by University Music Director Michael Sekulla, and the Capella Carolina, the choir of the university’s International Study Centre, under the baton of Prof. Franz Wassermann. Romance scholar Prof. Dr Christof Weiand will be the presenter for the whole event. The annual ceremony, which is open to the university public, will take place in the Great Hall of the New University and begin at 12 noon.