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21 October 2002

Foundation Stone Laid for International Hall of Residence

At the foundation ceremony for the "Max Kade International Hall of Residence" Rector Prof. Hommelhoff emphasised the "far-sightedness and hands-on commitment of American citizens and their governments"

Max Kade International Hall of Residence
The new Max Kade International Hall of Residence (in the foreground). Architects: Joest, Walther and Partners

The ceremonial laying of the foundation stone for the "Max Kade International Hall of Residence" by the President of the Max Kade Foundation, Dr. Hans G. Hachmann, the Rector Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff and the Managing Director of Student Services, Dieter Gutenkunst, assembled numerous representatives of public life on the building site of the new hall. Without the generous donation by the New York foundation, "this project could not have been realised," Hommelhoff and Gutenkunst emphasised. Dr. Hans G. Hachmann is one of the new Honorary Senators of the University of Heidelberg.

"With this second hall of residence at an interval of 40 years, the Max Kade Foundation has prominently renewed its involvement in the welfare of the University of Heidelberg and confirmed once more the special commitment of United States citizens and their institutions to Germany and its universities," Prof. Hommelhoff continued. "The fact that Max Kade, who was born in Schwäbisch Hall and left Germany for the United States at the beginning of the last century, should have resolved to make use of his fortune to facilitate encounters between young Germans and Americans is anything but self-evident. He set himself this goal in the year 1944, when the Americans had just landed in Normandy to free Europe from the scourge of Nazi terror." It was to this far-sightedness and hands-on commitment on the part of American citizens and their governments, Hommelhoff went on to say, that Germany owed its return to democracy and the rule of law, protection during the Cold War, the rescue and preservation of Berlin and ultimately, to a high degree, the reunification of the country in peace and liberty.

"We must never for a moment lose sight of these foundations of present-day Germany"

"We must never lose sight of these foundations of present-day Germany and its raison d'être but should always be mindful of them," said Hommelhoff. "The interest taken by the United States and its citizens in the welfare of Europe and Germany is a precious boon and one that represents an obligation to us Germans in particular." He added that for this reason it had been a source of especial gratification to confer the high-ranking status of Honorary Senator of the University of Heidelberg on the President of the Max Kade Foundation, Dr. Hachmann, the previous Saturday. It was a distinction also conferred on Max Kade himself.

"Universities need the generous commitment of private individuals," not merely to undertake the tasks that the government has insufficient resources for but also to initiate projects part-funded by the state at a later stage and special projects that the state is unwilling or no longer willing to finance. "One such project is the establishment of new student halls of residence in Heidelberg." The new Federal government's coalition agreement gives rise to guarded optimism in this connection, "but with a variety of projects the University of Heidelberg is well prepared for any changes in the financing plans that may ensue. May the laying of this foundation stone be a hopeful token and the start of an undertaking to be followed by further construction projects in the near future." (Rector Hommelhoff)

Investing in understanding

"Perhaps it's time to invest in some understanding." This sentence was found among the numerous posters put up in New York by relatives of people missing after the terrorist attack on 11 September. It indicates what is perhaps the most promising way of coming to terms with the horrors of New York and Bali: building bridges, extending hands across the sea, facilitating and encouraging intercultural dialogue between people of different cultures and thus laying the foundations of cross-border friendship.

The new international hall of residence on Neuenheimer Feld campus is a step in this direction. From the winter semester 2003/4, 76 students from all over the world will be living and learning side by side accommodated in the Max Kade Hall now taking shape on the campus. The project has been made possible by a donation of $ 450,000 from the American Max Kade Foundation, which has supported the building of student halls of residence in Germany on various occasions in the past.

Max Kade, a Swabian émigré who left Germany for the United States at the beginning of the 20th century, made a fortune there with pharmaceutical products. He transferred a large part of this fortune to a non-profit foundation financing halls of residence, university institutions and grants for students and young academics in Germany and the US. The Foundation's motto is "to create friendship where enmity once reigned." Nowhere are the chances of this happening better than in an international student hall of residence, where intensive contacts and international friendships can be forged.

Heidelberg students have profited from the aid of the Max Kade Foundation before. In the 1960s it provided part of the funding for the Max Kade House (Im Neuenheimer Feld 684), which still accommodates over 70 students from all over the world.

Harmonious ensemble around a green inner courtyard

The second Max Kade House is also situated on the Neuenheimer Feld campus, right next to another hall of residence (INF 133). Together with the existing high-rise construction, the new building will form a harmonious ensemble with three low-level units bordering an expansive green inner courtyard encouraging communication and encounter. The new hall of residence is designed to accommodate a total of 76 students living in small groups. Some of the rooms are reserved for students from the US. Alongside the accommodation quarters themselves, there will also be spaces designed for joint learning, lectures and other activities. A seminar room is also planned. Together with the students already housed in the hall of residence Im Neuenheimer Feld 133, a total of 259 German and international students will be able to live and work at the International Max Kade Centre.

The overall cost of the project amounts to some 3 million euros. Alongside the donation from the Max Kade Foundation, the rest of the sum required will be provided by the Studentenwerk (Student Services). No public resources will be drawn upon for the new hall of residence.

Please address any inquiries to:
Studentenwerk Heidelberg
Studentisches Wohnen
Renate Homfeld
phone: 06221/542656

Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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Updated: 03.11.2002


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