Campus - 16.05.2020 - 00:00 

Virtual dies academicus 2020

On 16 May 2020, the University of St.Gallen celebrated its virtual dies academicus with University members and guests from politics, academia and the general public.

16 May 2020. Once a year, the academic holiday of the University of St.Gallen brings together friends and graduates of the HSG with personalities from academia, politics, business and the general public. Unfortunately, the circumstances prevented the 2020 dies academicus from being staged in the customary manner. Instead of the traditional event on the campus, the HSG organised an originally styled virtual celebratory day, which was accessible online to anyone who was interested from Saturday, 5.00 a.m. at .

We still learn best from and with each other

President Bernhard Ehrenzeller opened the official ceremony with a quotation from the German poet Durs Grünbein. Grünbein speaks of an invisible enemy which brings all civilian life to a halt while leaving us with the (government’s) daily press conference as the only remaining routine to cling to. “Yet even though the university premises are currently devoid of life and the desks unoccupied, the university spirit – the so-called HSG spirit – is still alive,” said Bernhard Ehrenzeller. The faculty members and the employees, students and alumni were keeping it alive through their online lectures, administrative activities and numerous other initiatives, thus making a substantial contribution towards the mastery of the crisis.

A digitally fit classroom university

“Thanks to the decision made by the voting public last July,” Bernhard Ehrenzeller continued, “we’re able to look ahead with even greater joy,” for in St.Gallen’s Platztor area, an additional campus would be built in a few years, which would move the university closer to the city, and thus also to its population. Another meeting place is the Learning Center, which is now under construction and in which the future of teaching and learning will be spatially embodied.

Besides mentioning these successful projects, which are elementary for the further development of the university, President Bernhard Ehrenzeller’s ceremonial address also referred to a lesson to be learned from the last few weeks and months: “The HSG will have to remain a digitally fit classroom university. No matter how well video conferences work and how fantastically learning video clips have been designed, we need proper togetherness, since we still learn best from and with each other.”

Developing surprising solutions

In his ceremonial address, Prof. Dr. Sandro Stöckli, senior consultant of the Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic of the St.Gallen Cantonal Hospital, stipulated that it was the order of the day to formulate the unspoken, try out the unusual and develop surprising solutions. All of us were being called upon to make our big and small contributions and to develop visions with confidence and creativity. In his address to the 2020 dies academicus, the retiring President of HSG Alumni, Dr. Urs Landolf, said that the support of the population and the worldwide community of HSG alumni were the driving forces for the milestones which had been achieved at the University of St.Gallen in most recent times and which showed how strong the HSG’s regional roots were and how important the relationship with the alumni community was.

Prof. Dr. Erik Hofmann referred to the HSG culture, which was so very strong because it was characterised by a sense of togetherness. In cooperation with full professors, the non-tenured faculty and the employees of the Administration, it was not least the non-tenured faculty which had been able to make an essential contribution to the success story. Prof. Dr. Julia Nentwich explained that the situation of the non-tenured faculty would continue to change in the next few years; that much was clear. The president of the non-tenured faculty would make every effort to ensure the best possible development of the HSG in the future, too.

Revaluating core values after upheavals

It is traditional for the President of the Student Union to also address the audience of dies academicus of the University of St.Gallen. In his virtual address, Florian Wussmann called on people to use the crisis as an opportunity and to preserve the momentum of progress. Action and change were always of essential importance. The HSG, in particular, had proved that it knew how to revaluate its core values after upheavals.

Personal wishes for the HSG Learning Center

In late May, the cornerstone will be laid for the HSG Learning Center, which is being built between the Library Building and Guisanstrasse. University members and graduates, but also St.Gallen’s population, are cordially invited to express their personal wishes for the future of the Learning Center at until 25 May 2020. These wishes will be stored in a time capsule, which will be set in concrete in the cornerstone of the HSG Learning Center.

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