Author: Jolanta Skwaradowska     Published At: 19.10.2021

Inauguration of the Academic Year 2021/2022

For the 77th time, the Silesian University of Technology inaugurated the new academic year. The ceremony was combined with conferring the title of Doctor Honoris Causa upon Professor Yurii Bobalo, Rector of the Lviv Polytechnic National University.

Together with the authorities of the Silesian University of Technology and students, the ceremony was also attended by representatives of the partner universities, local government institutions, enterprises, educational and cultural institutions, as well as the Bishop of Gliwice Diocese and members of the Social Council. Rector of the Silesian University of Technology, Professor Arkadiusz Mężyk during the ceremony welcomed representatives of the border guards, army, police, fire brigade and city guards. 

During his opening address, the Rector stressed that the University is beginning to perform its duties in the new academic year with both hope and concern. - The new academic year will be very difficult for all Polish universities, including the Silesian University of Technology. The Covid-19 pandemic is still ongoing. We have experience in dealing with its effects, but we are not sure how it will develop once the whole community of several thousand students returns to our University. I hereby appeal for prudence and responsibility in our actions. Undoubtedly, there are many challenges and hard work before us - said the Rector.

In his opening address, the Rector referred to the implementation of the new act, the Law on Higher Education and Science. According to it, the evaluation of the quality of scientific activity will be based on new principles.

- The evaluation will cover the years 2017-2021 and will start on 1 January 2022. The last months and the incoming data show that the legislator was not able to foresee all the consequences of the introduction of the new provisions of the Act and the rules for the evaluation. Both small and large universities, regional and research ones, express their concerns about the results of the evaluation of the quality of scientific activity of units. For the first time, the scientific activity of disciplines will be evaluated, not the activity of faculties as it has been the case so far. The achievements of scientists who represent the same scientific discipline, but not necessarily the same faculty, will be compared. For some higher education institutions, this will signify the downgrade of the scientific category of certain disciplines, and therefore the loss of the right to award degrees and the need to suspend the activities of doctoral schools in those disciplines. Therefore, even more than three years ago, when the new act came into force, we will need solidarity and active involvement of the entire academic community - stressed Professor Arkadiusz Mężyk.

After the opening address, the Rector of the Silesian University of Technology opened the new academic year. After that, the Vice Rector for Student Affairs and Education, Professor Wojciech Szkliniarz, began the matriculation of the first-year student representatives. This group included the best candidates selected in the recruitment process. There were two foreign students from Ethiopia and Tanzania among them.

- Today's ceremony of the inauguration of the academic year is of particular importance to our first-year students who are beginning their studies at our University. Dear students, by the act of matriculation you have been welcomed into the academic community of our University. I would like to wish you all the best in gaining credits and passing the exams. I wish you success in acquiring knowledge, making use of all the possibilities in the development of your personality and satisfaction resulting from your participation in student life - said the Vice Rector, Professor Wojciech Szkliniarz.

After the oath, the Rector awarded the OMNIUM STUDIOSORUM OPTIMO medals - that is the best among the students. This medal, set by a resolution of the Senate of the Silesian University of Technology, is the highest distinction awarded to graduates of the University. It is awarded to graduates who are distinguished by exceptional results in their studies and outstanding scientific achievements. This year, five graduates received the medal.

During the ceremony, their younger colleagues were welcomed by the President of the Student Self- Government,  Dawid Mordarski. - It is a great honour and privilege to be able to welcome everyone gathered in the hall on this important day for the academic community. In particular, I would like to address those who have just taken the oath and those who start another year at our Alma Mater, which is the Silesian University of Technology. Standing in front of you, as your senior colleague, I would like to congratulate you on choosing this university as the place of education, which will shape you into future engineers and masters. Who knows, you may decide to tie your plans with the University for a longer period of time- said Dawid Mordarski.

The inauguration was followed by the ceremony of conferring the title of Doctor Honoris Causa on Professor Yurii Bobalo, Rector of the Lviv Polytechnic. This honorary title was conferred on Professor Bobalo for initiating modern solutions concerning the quality policy in higher education, integration of the scientific environment of Poland and Ukraine and commitment to the development of scientific and didactic cooperation and undertaking activities for the benefit of the international recognition of the Silesian University of Technology.

The laudation was delivered by the Vice-Rector for Science and Development, Professor Marek Pawełczyk. - Today is a solemn day for the Silesian University of Technology. Today we welcome to our community the eminent personage Professor Yurii Bobalo, Rector of the Lviv Polytechnic. Drawing on the medieval tradition of leading European universities, we would like, for the 52nd time in our 77-year history, to honour a person of particular merit in the development of science and society, whose achievements bring particular value to our University. It is not without reason that I am referring to history here because it is history that links the Lviv Polytechnic and the Silesian University of Technology. We remember very well when two years ago the Rector of the Lviv Polytechnic in this hall recalled the period when the Silesian University of Technology was established on the intellectual foundations of the Lviv Polytechnic. In our University, we do not forget this fact and we still proudly refer to the names of the first professors who came then from Lviv to build a strong academic centre in Silesia. Today, we can proudly notice that their effort was not wasted and that the Silesian University of Technology belongs to the group of the leading research universities in the country, with consequently built international recognition - said the Vice Rector, Professor Pawełczyk.

After the doctoral sash had been put on and the diploma awarded by the Rector of the Silesian University of Technology, Professor Yurii Bobalo gave a lecture, which was, at the same time, the inaugural one. Professor Bobalo presented the guests with the system of higher education in Ukraine and introduced his university, the Lviv Polytechnic. At the end of his lecture, Professor Yurii Bobalo thanked the academic community of the Silesian University of Technology. - I would like to thank you for such a high evaluation of my activities and for conferring this honourable title of Doctor Honoris Causa of the Silesian University of Technology upon me. I am grateful to my Polish colleagues for the opportunity to address you in my native Ukrainian language. Our meeting today confirms that our cooperation is increasingly effective and fruitful," said Professor Yurii Bobalo.

The representatives of local authorities, the mayors of Gliwice, Katowice and Zabrze were also present at the ceremony.

- The Silesian University of Technology has a significant impact on the development and establishing prospects for the future of the entire Metropolis. Today is a special day, as we are also hosting Professor Yuri Bobalo. Your presence here inspires us to recall what happened in Gliwice more than 70 years ago when professors from Lviv founded the Silesian University of Technology - the Mayor of Gliwice, Adam Neumann emphasized in his speech.

The Mayor of Katowice, Marcin Krupa, also expressed his opinion. – I’ve had difficulty today because I had to choose between my heart and my mind. My mind told me, choose Katowice, the University of Silesia and my heart whispered go to the Silesian University of Technology. I followed my heart because the Silesian University of Technology is not only my Alma Mater but it is also my workplace, and the other very important reason is the fact that the Rector of the technical university of our partner city of Lviv receives an honourable title, said President Krupa.

In her speech, Mayor of Zabrze Małgorzata Mańka Szulik emphasized that the city of Zabrze makes intensive use of the knowledge and experience of the scientists of the Silesian University of Technology. - Soon a European scientific institution (European Health Tech Innovations Centre - EHTIC) will start its activity in Zabrze. I am convinced that not only scientists from Gliwice or the Metropolis but also from entire Europe will work in this institution", emphasized the President of Zabrze. 

The inauguration ceremony of the academic year 2021/2022 as well as the conferment of the title of Doctor Honoris Causa upon Professor Yurii Bobalo were broadcast on YouTube of the Silesian University of Technology https://youtu.be/lrtjARoVdnw  

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