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.

[Translate to English:] Årets æresalumne Vibeke Brix Christensen med rektor Brian Bech Nielsen.
“Sometimes I’ve encountered the attitude that I ought to choose between academic work and humanitarian work. But I have chosen, and I’ve chosen both,” says paediatrician Vibeke Brix Christensen, this year’s distinguished alumna, pictured here with Rector Brian Bech Nielsen. Photo: Søren Kjeldgaard
[Translate to English:] Modtager af Undervisningsprisen professor Gerth Stølting Brodahl
He has won the award for Lecturer of the Year three times at the Department of Computer Science and is also the three-time winner of the TÅGEKAMMERET student organisation’s prize ‘The World’s Most Boring Lecture’. Which is anything but boring. Professor Gerth Stølting Brodal now receives the Aarhus University Anniversary Foundation Teaching Prize 2022. Photo: Søren Kjeldgaard
[Translate to English:] Modtager af Forskningsformidlingsprisen Michael Bang Petersen
“We must not take trust for granted. We need to invest in maintaining and creating trust”. The recipient of the Aarhus University Anniversary Foundation Research Communication Prize 2022, Professor Michael Bang Petersen, held this year's anniversary lecture. Photo: Søren Kjeldgaard
[Translate to English:] Dronningens 5 legatmodtagere sammen med prorektor Berit Eika
The five recipients of the Queen Margrethe II travel grants with pro-rector Berit Eika. Photo: Lars Kruse
This year’s annual celebration was Connie Hedegaard’s last as chair of the AU Board. She will leave her position on 1 December. Photo: Lars Kruse
The Vocal Line choir provided the music in the Main Hall. Photo: Lars Kruse

“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.

Watch a video of Rector Bech Nielsen’s 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. 

Watch a video of Chair of the AU Board Connie Hedegaard’s speech 

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.

Watch a video of Vibeke Brix Christensen’s speech 

Read a portrait of Vibeke Brix Christensen

Watch a video about Vibeke Brix Christensen

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.

Watch a video of this year’s student speaker, Carla Isabella Malouie

Other honours and awards

Gerth Stølting Brodal, professor of computer science, receives the Aarhus University Anniversary Foundation Teaching Prize 2022

Michael Bang Petersen, professor of political science, receives the Aarhus University Anniversary Foundation Research Communication Prize 2022

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

Read more about the travel grant recipients