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“Problems? No. Concerns? Yes!” – University annual reception

(23 November 2012) Political VIPs gathered at Haardter Berg for the annual reception of the University of Siegen and on the occasion of its 40th anniversary. Svenja Schulze, Minister of Science, and Dr. Georg Schütte, State Secretary, conveyed their congratulations and presented the awards for young scientists.

Rector Holger Burckhart was able to welcome two representatives of education policy: Svenja Schulze, North Rhine-Westphalia’s Minister of Science, and Dr. Georg Schütte, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and former Siegen University Council chairman. Right at the start, in his welcome address to the numerous guests at this year’s university annual reception, he made reference to the urgent challenges faced by the University of Siegen arising from the “all-time high of around 17,500 students”. Against this background, he criticized the slow implementation of the so important “Campus Mitte” project. He expressed sympathy for the student protests and simultaneously made reference to the numerous efforts, whether in the field of resource management or quality assurance, made by the University of Siegen with regard to the highest increase in first-year students in North Rhine-Westphalia this year. To the policy-makers and Minister Svenja Schulze he made the appeal: “With yesterday’s budget, we cannot provide for the quality that we are to deliver tomorrow.”
The Rector was also able to refer, however, to outstanding successes in research, which can be seen, for example, in the ERC Starting Grants, the Heisenberg Professorship and the top-class BMBF and DFG projects and which, not least, also prove the call to excellence in the SME field.

Minister Svenja Schulze congratulated the University of Siegen on its 40th anniversary, saying that it had “no cause for a midlife crisis” but, on the contrary, it had found its role regarding, among other things, the regional structural change in one of Europe’s densest university landscapes. Before she could properly begin her word of greeting, a group of protesting students in bright costumes managed to make their voices heard for a moment in front of the auditorium.

In his speech on “Foreign science policy as a strategic task for universities, using the University of Siegen as an example”, BMBF State Secretary Dr. Georg Schütte explained why internationalization is a matter of central and long-term significance for research and teaching.
Minister Schulze, alongside District Administrator Paul Breuer, Siegen’s Mayor Steffen Mues, President of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Klaus Vetter, Rector Burckhart, Managing Director of the Studentenwerk Detlef Rujanski and AStA Chairman Bastian Hirsch took part in a panel discussion on “Regionalism versus internationality?”. Following this, the traditional awards were presented to the University of Siegen’s young scientists. The Prorector for Research and Future Academics, Professor Peter Haring Bolivar, introduced this year’s award winners, who received their certificates from the hands of Minister Schulze and State Secretary Schütte.

The University of Siegen’s award for an international young scientist was received by Dr. Hatice Boylan (from Turkey) for her thesis: “Jacobi Forms, Finite Quadratic Modules and Weil Representations over Number Fields” (Mathematics, Faculty of Science and Technology, supervisor: Prof. Dr. Nils Skoruppa).

The DAAD award for outstanding achievements by foreign students was presented to Lia Duràn Mogollòn (Colombia). She is a student assistant in the field of Sociology for Prof. Dr. Christian Lahusen (Faculty of Arts) and is studying on the master’s programme “Roads to Democray”; she is co-supervising the binational doctoral programme with Lancaster University (“Global and European Studies”) and is president of ISIS (International Students Siegen).

The Dirlmeier-Gedächtnisstiftung’s sponsorship award was presented to Maximilian Becker for his thesis “Absurd Contracts” (School of Economic Disciplines, supervisor: Prof. Dr. Peter Krebs).

The Dirlmeier-Gedächtnisstiftung’s historian’s award was received by Iris Bunte for her thesis: “Education, Declaration and Prestige. Studies on the Book Ownership of a Socially Mobile Population Stratum in the Catholic Germany of the Early Modern Age” (History, Faculty of Arts, supervisor: Prof. Dr. Raphaela Averkorn).