Academic YearAnnual Celebration of Ruperto Carola

Press Release No. 106/2019
15 October 2019

Opening of the new academic year – Honorary Senator title and the Great University Medal to be awarded

Heidelberg University is opening the academic year 2019/2020 with its traditional Annual Celebration. Members of the university along with friends, donors, and alumni will gather on Saturday, 19 October 2019, to celebrate Ruperto Carola’s 633rd anniversary. As is tradition during the Annual Celebration, the university will recognise those who have shown extraordinary commitment to the university and dedication to the advancement of scholarship. Among those being honoured this year are two benefactors known for championing research and knowledge transfer in the field of language development: Günter Reimann-Dubbers will be welcomed into the community of Honorary Senators and Dr Hedwig-Else Dürr will receive the Great University Medal. The academic discussion will be devoted to the topic of transfer. In addition, the Hengstberger Prizes for outstanding young researchers and research teams will be awarded.

University Rector Prof. Dr Bernhard Eitel will open the proceedings and deliver the welcome address. The academic discussion entitled “Transfer: New Dynamics – New Risks” will follow. The central question is how to realise knowledge transfer in society and in practice – a core function of the university – so that it is both effective and responsible. Joining the discussion will be Dr Claudia Backes, head of a junior research group at the Institute for Physical Chemistry at Ruperto Carola, Saori Dubourg, BASF SE board member and external member of the University Council, Prof. Dr Patrick Most, Section Head at the Clinic for Cardiology, Angiology, and Pneumology of Heidelberg University Hospital, and Prof. Dr Jale Tosun, who teaches and researches at the Institute for Political Science at Heidelberg University. FAZ editor Heike Schmoll will moderate the discussion.

By welcoming Günter Reimann-Dubbers into the community of Honorary Senators, Ruperto Carola recognises the benefactor’s long-standing dedication to research and teaching at the university, particularly in the field of language development in children with German as their second language. In support of this cause, the Elke & Günter Reimann-Dubbers Foundation (Heidelberg) and the Dürr Foundation (Hamburg) have financed a junior professorship and supported diverse knowledge transfer activities to promote language proficiency. Already in 2004, the two foundations recognised the urgent need for action in this area, and their financial support made it possible to launch the “German for Starting School” project at Heidelberg University. For fifteen years, the project has focused on systematically strengthening the linguistic competence of preschoolers with a view towards a successful start to school. In recognition of this long-standing commitment, benefactor Dr Hedwig-Else Dürr will receive the Great University Medal.

The Klaus-Georg and Sigrid Hengstberger Prize 2019 for young researchers will likewise be presented during the Annual Celebration. Three prizes endowed with 12,500 euros each will again be awarded to young Heidelberg researchers and research teams. The team being recognised includes Dr Joana van de Löcht of the Department of German Language and Literature and Assyriologist Dr Adrian C. Heinrich of the Department of Languages and Cultures of the Near East. Other honourees are Dr Gheorghe Paşcalău of the Department of Philosophy and Dr Kira Rehfeld of the Institute of Environmental Physics of Heidelberg University, whose award will allow them to conduct their own symposium in the International Academic Forum Heidelberg (IWH). The Director of the IWH, chemist Prof. Dr Peter Comba, will deliver the laudatory speeches in the presence of award sponsor Dr Klaus-Georg Hengstberger.

The musical framework is provided by singers from the Capella Carolina and members of the Collegium Musicum – the University Orchestra and University Choir. Romance scholar Prof. Dr Christof Weiand will moderate the event. The Annual Celebration of Ruperto Carola will be held on Saturday, 19 October 2019, in the Great Hall of the Old University, Grabengasse 1. The festivities will begin at 11am.