Events - 21.05.2016 - 00:00 

Dies academicus 2016

On 21 May, the HSG celebrated its dies academicus with University members and guests from politics, academia, business and the general public. Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach is the new Honorary Senator.

21 May 2016. Numerous guests from academia, business and politics, among them the Chairman of the University’s Board of Governors, Education Minister Stefan Kölliker, as well as Government President Benjamin Würth, Health Minister Heidi Hanselmann and representatives of 14 universities from home and abroad, celebrated the University of St.Gallen's greatest day of the year – the dies academicus. The musical background to the event was provided by the Vox Chamber Choir of the Kantonsschule am Burggraben.

Challenges for "University 4.0"

President Thomas Bieger opened the official ceremony of the 2016 dies academicus with an address on the topic of "University 4.0". Bieger arrived at five conclusions and challenges which result for the University of St.Gallen from the increasingly intensive digitalisation and interlinkage of our world.

Firstly, the HSG will have to be and wants to be more distinctively among those universities which have a global impact in individual fields of research. Secondly, it must further adapt the subject matter it teaches to the challenges of digitalisation to ensure that students will continue to be prepared for demanding specialist and leadership tasks. Thirdly, the University of St.Gallen wants to continue to create values for society and the economy through research and research-based teaching. In keeping with the St.Gallen tradition, an integrative approach and taking one’s bearings from issues encountered in practice will be of great significance in this. "Fourthly," said Thomas Bieger, "we primarily invest in the advancement of innovation in our teaching." The point here was not to replace personal tuition by electronics but to supplement and further upgrade lectures with the help of digital opportunities. As the fifth point to be taken into consideration by the University of St.Gallen, Bieger mentioned the more broadly based discussion of the role of the University in a digital society, as well as within global alliances. To conclude, Bieger emphasised that universities had a further societal mission: monitoring digital developments in research and teaching. They would have to critically scrutinise these for the economy and for society. Only in this way could the universities’ freedom in teaching and research be justified.

Why it is worth investing in trust

The 2015 World Economic Forum proclaimed 2015 a fateful year for humanity and called for the reinforcement of "trust, cooperation and solidarity". In 2016, it is becoming increasingly clear that without trust, core elements of western societies are being put to the test: political scientists are talking of the "end of democracy", and companies realise that the value of trust only becomes palpable when trust has been lost. In her ceremonial address, Personnel Management Professor Antoinette Weibel showed that it is especially worth investing in trust in times of radical change and digitalisation, and pointed out what change in thinking would have to take place in politics, enterprises and in people’s minds to ensure that the economy and society would find their way (back) towards cooperation based on trust. This, and what universities would be able to contribute towards it, was the subject matter of Antoinette Weibel's address.

The future of education is digital – relationships will remain analogue

Under the heading of "iStudent – between an online and offline existence", Dardan Zeqiri, the President of the Student Union of the University of St.Gallen, also took up the issue of digitalisation and examined the aspect of teaching in that context. He said that digitalisation would have drastic consequences for our educational system. For Zeqiri, it is clear that digitalisation will make education available to everyone and will deliver personalised learning for individuals. He added, however, that "learning" always constituted a social process and that therefore, personal encounters on campus could not be replaced by digital media in the future, either. Empathy and interest, trust and morality – much of what creates a personality will continue to be communicated by people in the future, too. For this reason, a large part of education was relationship work. Relationships, however, also required contradiction. Zeqiri thus pleaded for a culture of constructive contradiction within the community of the University of St.Gallen in order to achieve goals together and accompany students on their way to individual education.

A new Honorary Senator and four new Honorary Doctors

Brian Griffiths (Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach) was awarded the title of Honorary Senator this year. "The University of St.Gallen acknowledges his outstanding commitment as the long-standing ambassador and moderator of the St. Gallen Symposium organised by students and thus his contribution to the HSG's international impact. During his 17 years in this role, the general public have come to know him as the face of our University and of the International Students’ Committee ISC."

The following academics were awarded the degree of an Honorary Doctor of Economic Sciences (Dr. oec. h. c.):

  • Prof. Ajay K. Kohli, Ph.D. from the Scheller College of Business of the Georgia Institute of Technology, USA:
    "The University of St.Gallen acknowledges his outstanding scientific achievements in the field of marketing management, particularly with regard to companies' market orientation."
  • Prof. Yakov Amihud, Ph.D. from New York University:
    "The University of St.Gallen acknowledges his outstanding research in the fields of financial markets, investment valuation and corporate funding."
  • Prof. Peter Wakker, Ph.D. from Erasmus University, Rotterdam:
    "The University of St.Gallen acknowledges his services to the research in behavioural economics."

The following academic was awarded the degree of an Honorary Doctor of Social Sciences (Dr. rer. soc. h. c.):

  • Dr. Lilia Fyodorovna Shevtsova from the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House (London) and the Brookings Institution (Washington):
    "The University of St.Gallen acknowledges one of Russia’s leading intellectuals who besides her academic work contributes to political debates with courage and commitment time and again."

Honoured for outstanding achievements

The Fondation Latsis Internationale, Geneva, awards a generous annual prize at selected universities in Switzerland with the purpose of promoting young researchers. The 2016 Latsis Prize went to Assistant Professor Dr. Emmanuel Alloa.

The HSG's Student Union awarded two prizes: the prize for excellent teaching, the Credit Suisse Award for Best Teaching, went to Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Jenewein, Professor of Business Administration. The Mentor Prize was awarded to Dr. Jürgen Brücker, Director of External Relations.

Discover our special topics