Rector: You are the university
Aarhus University’s 94th anniversary was celebrated with both reflection and festivities in the Main Hall and Concert Hall Aarhus – the traditional settings of the annual celebration. Watch a video of the speeches and read about all the award recipients here.
“If we at the universities need to increase our contribution to society even more – and we do! – then we also need to increase our collaboration and find solutions together. But we must go further than this. We must also extend our collaboration to include university colleges and business academies. And we need to have the political system on our side”.
So spoke Rector Brian Bech Nielsen on the occasion of Aarhus University’s 94th anniversary at the annual celebration on 9 September in the Main Hall, which was attended by employees and partners and friends of the university. Rector Brian Bech Nielsen underlined that it is thanks to the university’s talented and dedicated employees and its fantastic students that AU can create solutions for the benefit of society:
“The university is not the beautiful buildings. These are just the setting. The university is you. I would like to say a heartfelt thank you for your hard work and dedication during the past year”, said Brian Bech Nielsen in his speech.
Chair of the AU Board Connie Hedegaard: Less “them and us”
For the last time as chair of the AU Board, Connie Hedegaard held the opening speech for the annual celebration, in which she challenged the polarised debate on the role of universities in society:
“Everyone in Denmark benefits from what is going on at the universities. Politicians should think less in terms of them and us”, said Connie Hedegaard.
This year’s distinguished alumna, Vibeke Brix Christiansen: The Hippocratic oath knows no bounds
The distinguished alumna 2022 is paediatrician Vibeke Brix Christiansen, who has a PhD and a higher doctoral degree from Aarhus University. As a committed member of Doctors without Borders, she has helped improve the lives of children in conflict zones around the word. She also initiated the Treatfood research project, in which she and her team developed a recipe for a simple and cheap food supplement that could be given to millions of moderately undernourished children across the globe.
“Thank you to Aarhus University for giving me the tools to be able to extend a helping hand in a human, professional and proper way. And thank you for giving me the opportunity to pass on this recognition to my students, and to send them the important signal that it is possible to combine the clinical, the academic and the humanitarian. And thank you for not being indifferent”, said Vibeke Brix Christensen in her speech.
This year’s student speaker, Carla Isabella Malouie: I have become a racehorse
In her speech in the Main Hall, psychology student Carla Isabelle Malouie made an analogy between students and racehorses to encourage those present to be aware of the conditions that make students performance-oriented, stressed and anxious:
“I am aware that we cannot change the whole of society over a glass of wine this evening. But, if we keep talking to each other, I’m sure we can find a way to create better conditions for students. So my plea for you today is: Talk to a real student. Ask questions and listen to their answers and their suggestions for the education system. Because it is the students – and only the students – who know what it’s like to study the subject they are currently studying”, said Carla Isabella Malouie.
Other honours and awards
Honorary doctorates were conferred on the following four researchers:
Professor Anna Tsing (Arts)
Professor Jeffrey Smith (Aarhus BSS)
Professor Michael Baumann (Health)
Professor Milica Stojanovic (TECH and NAT)
Read more about the honorary doctors
The following five students received Queen Margrethe II travel grants:
Mathilde Vestergaard Meyer, PhD student in archaeology
Ida Vidar Kristensen, Master’s degree student in political science
Johanne Jul Elnegaard, Master’s degree student in medicine
Sebastian Loeschcke, Master’s degree student in computer science
Mark Meyer, Master’s degree student in civil and architectural engineering