Events - 20.05.2017 - 00:00 

Dies academicus 2017

On 20 May, the HSG celebrated its dies academicus with University members and guests from politics, academia, business and the general public. Four Honorary Doctorates were awarded.

21 May 2017. Numerous guests from academia, business and politics – among them the Chairman of the University's Board of Governors, Education Minister Stefan Kölliker, National Councillor Walter Müller, Councillor of State Paul Rechsteiner, Minister of Economic Affairs Bruno Damann (Canton of St.Gallen) and Education Minister Roland Inauen (Canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden), as well as representatives of 13 universities from home and abroad – together celebrated the University of St.Gallen’s greatest day of the year, the dies academicus.

Success thanks to local roots and an international presence

President Thomas Bieger opened the ceremony and in his address considered the question as to why local roots were particularly significant in an era of globalisation and digitalisation. For Bieger, local roots in the region were very important and had always been part of the HSG. "Established by the Canton, the City and business, no other university expresses the idea of a regionally embedded university as well," said Bieger, "and I’m talking of both society and the economy." For a university to be successful, however, it always required a good balance between international openness and integration in international networks, on the one hand, and physical local roots, on the other hand, for only in this way would both parties profit from each other: the region from direct and indirect economic effects, and the university from a vibrant environment, a network of inspiring practice partners, as well as from basic funding.

The spirit of a new start

"Switzerland does exist – and how!" said Martin Meyer, journalist (head of the NZZ's culture section from 1992-2015), publicist, essayist and author of books, in his address. Time and again, however, it was torn between being a successful small country and part of a wide, by now also globalised world. Scepticism and sobriety would ensure that this to-ing and fro-ing was sensibly balanced out as a many-faceted process of give and take. However, other qualities were also in demand: primarily a spirit of a new start that originates in the liberal centre, is more actively committed to freedom and realises the principle of creative responsibility as against administrating laziness and ideological obscurantism. The fact that the Swiss grassroots democracy still kept much under its own control should be understood and exploited as a locational advantage.

Studying in the digital age

Under the heading of "Studying in the digital age: why still at uni?" Mario Imsand, President of the Student Union of the University of St.Gallen, raised the question of the added value that a university was able to create in a digital world. He spoke about the students’ pride in the fact that the HSG was regarded as an educational institution of people who think critically and act sustainably. "In times of change, this core competence must not be lost." The HSG should develop even more intensively into a place of personal exchange. Knowledge and subject matter should be acquired in private study while the campus should be a place where students acquired the skills to understand things. After all, what ultimately counted for students was not degree certificates and credits, but a "licence to operate" in a constantly changing environment.

Four new Honorary Doctors

The following personalities were awarded Honorary Doctorates:

  • Prof. Robert A. Burgelman, Ph.D., from the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, USA: "With an Honorary Doctor's degree in Economic Sciences (Dr. oec. h. c.), the University of St.Gallen acknowledges his outstanding academic achievements in the field of strategic management, particularly with regard to the configuration of strategy processes and the strategic renewal of companies." 
  • Dr. Monika Hauser for the women's rights and aid organisation "medica mondiale": "With an Honorary Doctor's degree in Political Sciences (Dr. rer. publ. h. c.), the University of St.Gallen acknowledges her long years of outstanding pioneering work for the benefit of women affected by sexualised forms of violence."
  • Senior Public Prosecutor of the Canton of St.Gallen Dr. Thomas Hansjakob: "With an Honorary Doctor's degree in Law (Dr. iur. h. c.), the University of St.Gallen acknowledges his long years of excellent services to law as a public prosecutor, researcher and university teacher, particularly in the fields of criminal law and criminal procedural law."
  • Yves Daccord from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC): "With an Honorary Doctor’s degree in Social Sciences (Dr. rer. soc. h. c.), the University of St.Gallen honours an important personality in the field of humanitarian missions in crisis-ridden areas around the globe, an area that is characterised by courage and commitment. His outstanding services to the fortunes of the ICRC, which has globally represented Switzerland for more than 150 years, merit our utmost respect."

Outstanding achievements honoured

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. Thomas Epper.

The Latin America Prize for Doctoral Theses at Swiss Universities, which is awarded by the HSG’s Fund for the Promotion of Research into Latin America, went to Dr. Fabian François Müller.

The HSG's Student Union awarded two prizes: the prize for excellent teaching – the Credit Suisse Award for Best Teaching – went to Prof. Dr. Vito Roberto, Professor of Private, Commercial and Business Law. The Mentor Prize was awarded to Prof. Dr. Ulrike Landfester, Vice-President for External Relations and Professor of German Language and Literature.

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