Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik (2. from left), President of the
Max Kade Foundation, Dr. Hans G. Hachmann (middle), and his wife.
Photo: Alexander Müller
At the invitation of the University and the Studentenwerk (Student Affairs Organisation), Dr. Hans G. Hachmann, president of the American Max Kade Foundation, spent three days in Heidelberg (29 March to 1 April) with his wife informing himself about the range of academic and social opportunities and services provided by the oldest university on German soil.
The name of Max Kade is indissolubly linked with the furthering of German-American relations at the higher-education level. Born in Schwäbisch Hall in 1882 as the eleventh of twelve children, Max Kade emigrated to the United States and made a fortune with the Pertussin brand of cough mixture. In 1944 he established the Max Kade Foundation dedicated to fostering exchanges and relations between American and German scholars and students.
"Sowing the seeds of friendship where there was once enmity" is the motto of the Foundation, which not only provides funds for the construction of student halls of residence designed to enable German and American students to live peaceably side by side but also supports the establishment of meeting centres for German and American students, scholars and scientists. In addition, the Max Kade Foundation awards scholarships to students and young academics from the United States and Germany, enabling them to study, teach or engage in research at each other's universities.
Numerous halls of residence at German university locations have been put up with the aid of the Foundation. In the last few years there has also been an increase in the flow of Foundation resources into the new Federal States in the east of the country. Max Kade halls of residence now stand (or are nearing completion) in the cities of Dresden, Jena, Halle and Weimar. Heidelberg's students also have good reason to be grateful. In the early 60s the construction of the halls of residence at the Klausenpfad was supported by a generous donation from the Kade Foundation. At present the Max-Kade-Haus at the Klausenpfad location houses approx. 870 students from over a dozen countries.
The immediate reason for the Foundation's new heightened interest in Heidelberg is not only the fact that the city is still high up on the list of "most-favoured locations" for American students. It is largely due to the agency of the former Director of Heidelberg's Studentenwerk, Oswald Czaikowski. For many years, Czaikowski was a personal friend of the former president of the Foundation, Prof. Dr. Erich Markel, who died in January 1999 and, like Czaikowski, hailed from Transylvania. Shortly before his death, Prof. Markel was planning to visit Heidelberg, and his successor, the prominent New York lawyer and native Berliner Dr. Hans G. Hachmann, came on the trip in his stead.
Dr. Hachmann left Germany with his parents at the age of 4 but still feels closely associated with his native land. After a number of years on the supervisory council of the Kade Foundation he is now an even more central figure than before in the running of its affairs. Heidelberg is overjoyed that he was able to take time out from his very exacting professional schedule to come and visit the city. The selection of this location out of all the numerous cities where the Foundation entertains institutions and
goes about its supportive work is seen in Heidelberg as a token of very special regard.
In talks with Rector Prof. Dr. Jürgen Siebke, Chief Administrative Officer Romana Gräfin vom Hagen and the rector of the Education College Prof. Ludwig Schwinger, Dr. Hachmann was able to persuade himself at first hand of the attraction Heidelberg exerts on students from the United States. At present there are some 160 American students in Heidelberg. During a reception given by Heidelberg's vice-rector for international affairs, Prof. Dr. Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik, Dr. Hachmann and various University representatives discussed ways in which Heidelberg might be made even more attractive for students from abroad, notably of course from the United States.
Another round of in-depth talks took place with the present Director of the Studentenwerk, Dieter Gutenkunst, who emphasised that for foreign students swift integration and social contacts to German students were almost as important for the success of their studies as the standards of academic excellence provided by a university. Accordingly, Dr. Hachmann visited a number of halls of residence during his stay in Heidelberg (including the Max-Kade-Haus) and was able to gather first-hand evidence that in Heidelberg the ideal of amicable multicultural co-existence is being lived up to in an exemplary manner.
Despite the inclement weather Dr. Hachmann and his wife were by no means impervious to the spell Heidelberg typically casts on its visitors. "I'm not surprised that so many people lose their hearts to Heidelberg," he said, relishing the view of the Old Town from the Castle terrace.
After this visit the University and the Studentenwerk feel they can rest assured that in the new president of the Max Kade Foundation they have found a friend and supporter not only dedicated to German-American relations in the more general sense but also to the cultivation of a very special relationship with the higher-education institutions, the Student Affairs Organisation and the students in Heidelberg.
Please address any inquiries to:
Renate Homfeld, phone: 06221/542656
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317