HonourBudapest Universities: High Academic Awards for Prof. Dr Bernhard Eitel

24 May 2024

Rector emeritus of Ruperto Carola receives honorary doctorate from ELTE and is appointed honorary senator of Semmelweis University

“Science builds bridges across borders; good research and innovative teaching are always international.” His many-faceted support for German-Hungarian scientific relations and, in particular, his sustained commitment to cooperation with Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) and Semmelweis University in Budapest has earned Prof. Dr Bernhard Eitel high-ranking honours from the two Hungarian universities. The Rector emeritus of Heidelberg University now has an honorary doctorate from ELTE, an award that includes in particular his scientific accomplishments as a geographer. Semmelweis University has appointed Prof. Eitel an honorary senator. 

“Bernhard Eitel is a globally renowned representative of geomorphology, soil geography and geoarcheology,” according to the ELTE tribute, which also refers to the close relations regarding research and exchanges between the Heidelberg Institute of Geography and the Center of Geography of Eötvös Loránd University. ELTE, under the leadership of Prof. Dr László Borhy, is a partner university of Ruperto Carola; the long-standing cooperation, which dates back to 1982, was expanded and strengthened during Bernhard Eitel’s 16-year term as Rector of Heidelberg University, the appreciation continues. The honorary doctorate also comes with the right to teach at Eötvös Loránd University. During the award ceremony, Prof. Eitel urged that Europeans “be aware of our diversity and see it as an opportunity”. On the basis of their rich history and traditions ELTE and Heidelberg University can make an exemplary contribution for the benefit of the people, he said, and realise their considerable scientific potential even better together to meet the challenges of the present time.

Semmelweis University in Budapest also lauded Prof. Eitel’s special commitment to further developing the cooperation that has existed between the two institutions for over 40 years. It was with great pleasure, said Prof. Dr Béla Merkely, Rector of Semmelweis University, that he bestowed this honour on a reputable expert and colleague, who had guided Heidelberg University for 16 years and, in so doing, pressed for “strong, intensive cooperation” between the two universities. The Hungarian university confers the title of honorary senator on notable persons from home and abroad who have long shown outstanding engagement for the concerns of the university, and have made a significant contribution to its development through their personal commitment. He would continue to be “a dedicated ambassador for Semmelweis University”, Prof. Eitel stated at the award ceremony. A competitive and people-centred Europe was emerging thanks to scientific contacts, cooperation and personal experience, said the longstanding Rector of Ruperto Carola. “We are moving Europe forward based on our common past, our shared values, our institutional autonomy and individual academic freedom in research and teaching.”

Bernhard Eitel majored in geography and German studies at the University of Karlsruhe (TH). After his doctorate and habilitation at the University of Stuttgart he took up a professorship at the University of Passau in 1995. In 2001 he was appointed Professor of Physical Geography at Heidelberg University. In 2007 Prof. Eitel was elected Rector of Heidelberg University for a first six-year term. He was head of Ruperto Carola until autumn last year. Bernhard Eitel has received multiple honours for his achievements in research, science policy and international cooperation, including an honorary doctorate from Comenius University in Bratislava (Slovakia), the University Medal in Gold of Charles University in Prague, and orders of merit from France and Japan.

The honorary doctorate was conferred on 10 May 2024 at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. The academic honouring at Semmelweis University followed three days later.

Budapest Universities: High Academic Awards for Prof. Dr Bernhard Eitel