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The University of St.Gallen (HSG) is one of the oldest business schools there are and was the first of its kind to be founded in Switzerland. It was founded in 1898, when the Grand Council of the Canton of St.Gallen decided to establish an 'academy for trade, traffic and administration' in the city of St.Gallen. 2023 will be a special year for the HSG as we celebrate our 125th anniversary.

In the year of our 125th anniversary, a wide range of events will provide an opportunity to celebrate together - and get a deeper understanding of the University, which has been deeply rooted in St.Gallen and the region for 125 years. Take the opportunity to discover your HSG.

In the course of the year, we will announce further events and other highlights on this page. So it's worth checking back here more often. 

Publications and brochures

Denken und Handeln – Festschrift 125 Jahre HSG

Thinking and Acting – anniversary publication (in German)

Sonderbeilage St.Galler Tagblatt «125 Jahre Universität St.Gallen»

125 Years of the University of St.Gallen – St.Galler Tagblatt special insert (in German)

125 Years of HSG – anniversary brochure (in German)

“The Canton of St.Gallen is proud of its HSG – congrats! In addition to outstanding specialists, it makes an important contribution to the added value of the region and radiates excellence beyond Switzerland. Many thanks to all who contribute to this.”
Stefan Kölliker, Cantonal Education Minister and Chairman of the University´s Board of Governors
“HSG is usually mentioned in the same breath as the world cultural heritage site of the Abbey District. Thanks to its 3500 employees and over 9500 students from all over the world, our city is a vibrant place. I congratulate you most sincerely!”
Maria Pappa, Mayor of St.Gallen
“HSG shapes eastern Switzerland – as a leading business university with international appeal and as a first-class educational institution for business. As a co-founder, we congratulate, wish success and persistence in striving for the best.”
Markus Bänziger, Director St.Gallen-Appenzell Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK)
“FC St.Gallen 1879 warmly congratulates the 19 years-younger university and wishes HSG continued success at training young professionals into becoming leaders with clear values.”
Matthias Hüppi, President FC St.Gallen 1879
“I learned a lot during my studies at the HSG, especially for the restructuring of the princely companies. I am very grateful for that. I wish the HSG that it continues to prepare its students to take on responsibility.”
Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, HSG-Alumnus

Discover the milestones marking HSG's journey from its establishment in 1898 to the present day

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Historical pictures (collection will be continuously updated)

Skilager

Ski camp

Starting in 1945, HSG students began organising ski camps on a regular basis. The first skiing holidays were led by fourteen male and three female students, with university sports teacher Rolf Albonico in charge, at the "Iltios" mountain house in Toggenburg. Later, they regularly ventured to the Fideriser Heuberge or the Säntis. While being delighted about their professors joining them, including the future president W.A. Jöhr, the students nevertheless wished for a somewhat less 'authoritarian supervision'.
Schweizerische Versuchsanstalt

Experimental institute

Did you know that HSG once housed a 'Fats and Oils Department'? The lower floors of the original HSG university building were home to the facilities of the 'Schweizerische Versuchsanstalt', now known as EMPA. When the business academy was established in 1898, it was apparent that in addition to business education, technical material tests for industry was also on the agenda. Initially, these tests primarily served the St.Gallen textile associations. However, the demand quickly expanded to include leather, detergents, paper, as well as fats and oils, which found their place on the laboratory benches and in the test tubes. In 1918, the research institute gained an official recognition by the Swiss Federal Council. In 1936, it was fully taken over by the Swiss Confederation and relocated to a new facility, but the collaboration with HSG continued.
Joseph Zingg

«Father Zingg»

The role of caretaker remained within the same family for an impressive 42-year stretch, spanning from 1899 to 1941, with both Joseph Zingg senior and junior taking on the responsibility. Beyond his caretaking duties, the elder Zingg was actively involved in book sales. He imported textbooks from Germany at favourable exchange rates and offered them directly to students, to the great displeasure of the local book store owner. In 1918, the owner of the book store drew President Schulze's attention that Zingg offered Schulze's book on economics at the priced of Fr. 4.90, while the bookstore had to charge Fr. 5.45. He requested the president that he 'make efforts towards putting an end to these book selling activities'. Joseph Zingg Junior had initially worked as a policeman before joining HSG. In 1911, he was elected as the 2nd caretaker of the school and as a helper of the affiliated yarn control station. Following his father's passing in 1921, he assumed the position of caretaker at HSG. Tragically, he suffered a fatal cardiac arrest on 16 January 1941, in the midst of his duties.
«Internierten-Hochschullager»

Internment camp

To escape Nazi imprisonment, 13,000 Polish soldiers made it to Switzerland during the Second World War. The HSG enabled around a hundred students among them to continue their studies, which had been interrupted by the war: HSG lecturers provided them with lectures and tutorials in the "Internierten-Hochschullager" from 1940 onwards. The internment camp had various locations: Sirnach, Gossau, Herisau, St.Gallen. The teaching was basically the same as at the HSG, which is why the Poles took part in the regular courses from 1942. In addition, the students devoted themselves to sports or songs, but they repeatedly had to go out for hard labour duties, spending the night in straw. Some of the internees studied at the HSG after the war, even earning a doctorate.
Alternative Neubaupläne

Alternative new construction plans

The HSG suffered chronically from a lack of space. When working on a solution in the 1950s, the HSG's former location in the museum quarter was considered as an alternative to a campus on the Rosenberg. Architectural sketches in the university archives show what the HSG could have looked like. What cannot be seen on the sketches is that ten residential buildings would have had to be demolished for the variant in the town center. In addition, noise from the neighbouring school building was expected. Thus, in 1963, the HSG moved from the city centre to the Rosenberg.
Elefant bei der Diplomfeier

Elephant at the graduation ceremony

In 1964, members of the AV Steinacher organised a special transport to celebrate a fellow student: an elephant was "borrowed" from the Knie Circus, which was a guest in the city. After the graduation ceremony, the elephant and its trainer appeared at the HSG auditorium and carried the graduate through the city. However, the animal was unimpressed by the HSG degree: At Marktplatz, the elephant could not be persuaded in either Latin or German to kneel down and let the graduate dismount, but trotted on towards the circus.
Photo: St.Gallen Town Archives.
Hörsaal 1959

Lecture Hall No. 16

The picture shows "Lecture Hall No. 16" of the old HSG building in 1959. The crowdedness shows that the HSG was suffering from a shortage of space at the time. Temporary relief was provided four years later when the campus on the Rosenberg became operational. Fortunately, the proportion of women among the students has also increased somewhat since then.
Der «Ungarn-Bus» von 1956, eine Hilfsaktion für geflüchtete Studierende

The "Hungary Bus" of 1956, an aid campaign for students who had fled

After the Soviet army put down a democratic uprising in Hungary in 1956, many Hungarians fled to Switzerland. There was great solidarity at the HSG: 50 students were admitted at the university and the Student Union organised aid campaigns. For one week, the students earned money by providing public transport services with a bus made available for that purpose by the St.Gallen city transport company. The revenue was donated to the refugee students. In 2006, former refugees donated a Hungarian oak tree, which was planted at the edge of the HSG park.
Kunstdiebstahl auf dem Campus

Art theft on campus

Over the weekend of 12/13 November 1988, one of the five pieces of the tapestry by Coghuf and Silvia Valentin was stolen from the Aula. The HSG appealed to the "perpetrators, who will hardly be able to put the stolen part of the carpet to good use", to return the piece of fabric. Silence for weeks. Then finally, at the end of the month, the HSG received an anonymous tip: the stolen goods were in a locker at Winterthur railway station. The artwork was recovered and has since been spared from criminal (or beery?) energy.
48. Schweizerische Hochschulmeisterschaften

48th Swiss University Championships

In 1965, the 48th Swiss University Championships took place in St.Gallen. Over 300 students competed in swimming, athletics, shooting, tennis and fencing. There was a premiere: for the first time, fencers were able to hold their university tournament in an aula. Fortunately, Coghuf's tapestry was not damaged.
Rektoratskette

President's chain

It is one of the classic insignia of a university and is the eye-catcher at the annual Dies academicus: the President's chain. The St.Gallen chain is made of 18-carat gold and was donated by alumnus Paul Alther in 1939, shortly after the HSG gained the right to award doctoral degrees. On the back of the medal the following is engraved: "To the Handelshochschule St.Gallen as a sign of gratitude for the rich academic and ethical values received by it in the years 1907-1909. Paul Alther November 1939".
Dies academicus

Dies academicus

The Dies academicus has been celebrated at the HSG since 1928. However, its Latin name is much younger. For a long time, the practitioner-oriented business school did not like the "Latin loanword and its somewhat pompous appearance" and instead celebrated the "Hochschultag" every year. Only since the HSG gave itself the name of a "University" in 1995 has the "Dies" been held on campus each May.
«Sitter-In»

«Sitter-In»

Openair instead of University Ball: In May 1970, a group of HSG students planned an alternative to the University Ball, which was perceived as a dusty and rigid event. In the spirit of Woodstock, they invited "apprentices, workers, students" to a musical "Sitter-In" in the Sittertobel. They were to bring all sorts of instruments, incense sticks, flowers, confessionals(!) and food. "No admission, no tuxedos" and "no beginning, no end." The poster immediately led to an official ban by the local council of Gaiserwald: formally because of nocturnal noise and fire hazard. But the real bone of contention was in the details: on the poster, next to the word "Kaserne" (barracks), there is a tiny peace sign - an affront to military circles at the time. The local council suspected left-wing agitation from Zurich. The "Sitter-In" took place nevertheless, a few river curves upstream, under the Ganggelibrugg on the municipal territory of Stein AR. About a thousand young people played music and barbecued peacefully through the night - it was the first St.Gallen Open Air. Image: Marcel Elsener/tagblatt.ch
Laubfrösche im künstlichen Teich

Frogs in the artificial pond

Multi-faceted white-collar work at the HSG: In the summer of 1986, the head of university accounting and the press officer freed around 1500 small tree frogs from the artificial pond at the main entrance to the HSG. The frogs were trapped in the water because of the steep walls and were subsequently released in various biotopes around the city. A few years after the frogs, fish found their way into the pond. It is to this day not known what species they are and how they came here: whether by a joke of students or due to spawn on the feet of water birds. However, since then the fish may "solve" the problem of the stuck frogs.
Aschenbecher

Ashtrays

Every smallest detail of the Rosenberg Campus, which opened in 1963, is part of architect Walter Förderer's masterpiece. From the wood pattern in the concrete to the lamps and armchairs to the various ashtrays. Ashtrays, of course. Whether in the lecture hall or the conference room, people smoked everywhere. Today, these built-in ashtrays are only preserved in the president's office building.
Das Kirchhoferhaus – ein historisches Juwel mitten auf dem Campus

The Kirchhoferhaus - a historic jewel in the middle of the campus

Am Rand des Vorplatzes der HSG-Mensa befindet sich das älteste Gebäude auf dem Campus. Das ehemalige Bauernhaus aus dem 17. Jh. wurde um 1885 von dem Textilunternehmer Oberst Johann Joachim Paul Kirchhofer (1825-1903) zu einem repräsentativen Landhaus umgebaut. Kirchhofers Erben schenkten die Residenz einschliesslich der dazugehörigen Parkanlage der Stadt St.Gallen, die das Grundstück 1960 der HSG für ihren Campus zur Verfügung stellte.

Paul Kirchhofer war Teilinhaber der Firma Vonwiller (später Union AG), die heute als älteste Stickereifirma der Welt gilt (gegründet 1759). Das Unternehmen produzierte in St.Gallen Leinwand, Barchent, Mousseline und Stickereien, die ins europäische Ausland, in den Orient und in die USA exportiert wurden.

Um ihre historischen Wurzeln zu würdigen, liess die HSG 2014 drei Räume im Erdgeschoss des Kirchhoferhauses vom St.Galler Textilunternehmen Jakob Schlaepfer mit Tapeten und Vorhängen ausstatten, welche mit ihren Mustern und Stoffen an die textile Vergangenheit erinnern.

Das Kirchhoferhaus ist übrigens ein Teil des Stadtrundgangs «Textilweg St.Gallen».
Prominente Besucher:innen an der HSG

Prominent visitors to HSG

Fancy a little quiz? This time we show you pictures of prominent visitors to HSG over the last 60 years. Politicians, sportsmen, artists, scientists... Who can recognise all 10 of them? You will find the solution below.

Solution:

Ai Weiwei (2023), Wladimir Klitschko (2015), Christine Lagarde (2013), Bill Clinton (2009), Kofi Anan (2006), Dalai Lama (1995), Ruth Dreifuss (1993), Mario Vargas Llosa (1988), Jeanne Hersch (1985), Ludwig Erhard (1961)
Probesitzen im Audimax

Testing out the chairs in the Audimax

Students in the Audimax, are you sitting comfortably? If so, you have these gentlemen to thank: HSG President Johannes Anderegg, architect Bruno Gerosa, Director of Administration Franz Hagmann and cantonal construction manager Arnold Bamert went to the construction site of the B building in 1988 for a test session. At the opening in 1989, the students were certainly pleased with the Audimax. Admittedly, they found the seats cramped in places. On the other hand, the Audimax offered a previously unknown feeling of space: "Whereas in the Aula we had to look up at the professor, now we can look down on him," commented the student magazine Prisma.
80 Jahre Campus auf dem Rosenberg

80 years of the Rosenberg Campus

Happy Birthday to us! This year, the HSG celebrates not only 125 years since its founding, but also 80 years of the campus on the Rosenberg. In 1963, the concrete and iron masterpiece designed by architect Walter Maria Förderer (right) was opened. Unfortunately, it is unknown who created the equal masterpiece of cream and chocolate.
Studentenverbindungen

Fraternities and sororities

Fraternities and sororities have a long tradition at the HSG: The AV Mercuria San Gallensis was founded as early as 1900, and over the years more and more were added. The newest one in 1999 – the AV Kybelia – was the first sorority. The picture shows Students at the fraternity day of the 50th anniversary of HSG. The clothing worn by the chargés here is called "Vollwix" or "Vollwichs" and is worn – usually by a delegation of three – exclusively on festive occasions. There are many theories about the origin of the ribbon, which is also worn by corporate students on other occasions. The most likely one is that around 1800 it was fashionable to wear the pocket watch or the house key on a ribbon in the colours of the fraternity running from the right shoulder to the left hip. This custom gave rise to the couleur ribbon, which is usually about 28mm wide today. In the 1820s, it became the typical sign of fraternity members, especially at Bavarian universities.

Today still active and at the HSG accredited fraternities:

AV Mercuria - fraternity - since 1900
AV Emporia Alemannia - fraternity - since 1908
AV Amicitia - fraternity - since 1917
AV Bodania - fraternity - since 1925
Zofingia HSG - fraternity - since 1952
AV Steinacher - fraternity - since 1953
AV Notkeriana - mixed students association- since 1990
AV Kybelia - sorority - since 1999
Ski camp
Skilager
Experimental institute
Schweizerische Versuchsanstalt
«Father Zingg»
Joseph Zingg
Internment camp
«Internierten-Hochschullager»
Alternative new construction plans
Alternative Neubaupläne
Elephant at the graduation ceremony
Elefant bei der Diplomfeier
Lecture Hall No. 16
Hörsaal 1959
The "Hungary Bus" of 1956, an aid campaign for students who had fled
Der «Ungarn-Bus» von 1956, eine Hilfsaktion für geflüchtete Studierende
Art theft on campus
Kunstdiebstahl auf dem Campus
48th Swiss University Championships
48. Schweizerische Hochschulmeisterschaften
President's chain
Rektoratskette
Dies academicus
Dies academicus
«Sitter-In»
«Sitter-In»
Frogs in the artificial pond
Laubfrösche im künstlichen Teich
Ashtrays
Aschenbecher
The Kirchhoferhaus - a historic jewel in the middle of the campus
Das Kirchhoferhaus – ein historisches Juwel mitten auf dem Campus
Prominent visitors to HSG
Prominente Besucher:innen an der HSG
Testing out the chairs in the Audimax
Probesitzen im Audimax
80 years of the Rosenberg Campus
80 Jahre Campus auf dem Rosenberg
Fraternities and sororities
Studentenverbindungen
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