The University of Groningen opened academic year 2014-2015 in festive fashion. Due to the great interest in the ceremony, it took place in the Martinikerk. Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans was the guest of honour.
The opening ceremony also marked the official start of the University College Groningen (UCG). The UCG is the University’s tenth faculty, offering an English-taught Bachelor’s degree programme in Liberal Arts and Sciences. The students will live and study at a campus on the Hoendiepskade. Thirty-three students form the first UCG cohort, and the aim is to increase this number to about 100 students. The students and their parents received a special word of welcome from Rector Magnificus Elmer Sterken. The students in turn presented a short video they had made during their introduction period.
The Guyot prize was awarded to Prof. Karen Steel for her ground-breaking research into the genetic factors involved in deafness and hearing loss.
In his opening speech, Rector Magnificus Elmer Sterken emphasized the need for high-quality research, technological development and internationalization. ‘These three subjects are irrevocably linked’, he said. ‘We view the world as our playing field and there are many interesting developments. We need to distinguish ourselves with the quality of our teaching and research, we need to implement technological innovations and participate in international developments.’
Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans held an inspiring speech on training the current young generation. ‘Young people today have everything going for them. They are wealthy, intelligent and have unlimited opportunities. The only thing they lack is the necessary depth to analyse well and make proper choices. From the very heart of society, knowledge institutions like the University of Groningen have the task of training these young people. The combination of dissatisfaction, curiosity and openness is invaluable to every university.’
The University is successful in attracting international students. Once again more international students have chosen to study in Groningen. The welcoming ceremony, which can already be considered a tradition, was held on Wednesday 27 August in the Martinikerk. No fewer than 1800 foreign students were welcomed to Groningen. The top three countries students hail from are Germany, China and the United Kingdom. The rise in the number of students from outside the European Union (EU) is remarkable. Compared to last academic year, the numbers nearly doubled from 400 to 750. In particular the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences proved successful in attracting students from outside the EU.
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