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Donations of 5.6 Million Euros for the Restoration of the New University

Press Release No. 80/2010
23 April 2010
Manfred Lautenschläger Foundation finances the modernisation of lecture hall 13 – Inauguration in early May
Animation Hörsaal 13
Lecture Hall 13

For the restoration of the New University – a project marking the 625th anniversary of the Ruperto Carola in 2011 – Heidelberg University has so far received donations totalling 5.6 million Euros thanks to generous support from private benefactors and various foundations. Along with financial assistance from the state of Baden-Württemberg to the tune of 3 million Euros, funding has now been assured for over two-thirds of the overall construction costs totalling 10.4 million Euros. The first visible product of the restoration work is the modernisation of lecture hall 13, which will be ready for use in early May. The renovation was made possible by a donation from the Manfred Lautenschläger Foundation, which has provided 1.2 million Euros for this purpose.

The restoration project is the central mission of the initiative „Dem lebendigen Geist“, named after the inscription over the entrance to the New University. The various activities and campaigns assembled under this heading have been organised by friends, benefactors and alumni of Heidelberg University. They are designed to drum up the remaining 1.8 million Euros required for the renovation and modernisation of the University’s central auditorium building in the Old Town of Heidelberg. To this end, a fundraising campaign has also been launched in the United States. Originally the University had expected the restoration costs to amount to approximately 8 million Euros but further restoration and renewal requirements have materialised in the course of the ongoing reconstruction measures. In addition, the university will now also repair the organ in the Great Hall of the New University. This instrument had not been usable for a number of decades.

The New University was built in 1930/31 with donations from America. Out of dedication to Heidelberg University, Jacob Gould Schurman, then U.S. Ambassador to Germany and alumnus of the Ruperto Carola, initiated this campaign. The architectural complex constituting the New University is grouped around the main building on the south side of University Square, in which the Great Hall and most of the lecture halls are located. The west wing on Grabengasse accommodates the Department of History and the Medieval Latin Library, plus lecture halls 12, 12a and 13. The south wing on Seminarstraße houses further sections of the Department of History, the Institute of Franconian-Palatine History and Area Studies and the Department of Eastern European History.

The newly refurbished lecture hall 13 will be officially reopened with a matinee on Sunday, 2 May 2010. The keynote lecture on “Romanticism or A Long Day’s Journey into Night” will be given by Heidelberg German Studies scholar Prof. Dr. Dieter Borchmeyer, President of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts. The musical side of the proceedings has been entrusted to Silke Schwarz (soprano) and Joana Mallwitz (piano) of Heidelberg’s Municipal Theatre. The ceremony is part of the “Heidelberg Lectures on Cultural Theory” series supported by the Manfred Lautenschläger Foundation and begins at 11 a.m. The staff and students of Heidelberg University are cordially invited to attend this event, as are the members of the general public.

For more information on the „Dem lebendigen Geist“ initiative and the restoration project, go to


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