Blick auf die Universität Konstanz aus der Luft
Blick auf die Universität Konstanz aus der Luft

The campus celebrates

The University of Konstanz celebrates its 50th anniversary

Two thousand and sixteen is the year in which the University of Konstanz celebrates its 50th anniversary. The official foundation date is 28 February 1966. On this day, Professor Gerhard Hess was appointed as the first rector of the University of Konstanz. Under the motto "Model Konstanz: 50 Years of Reform”, the celebration will take place on Friday, 24 June 2016.  We will commemorate the laying of the foundation stone on the Gießberg hill and the first university lecture, both of which occurred almost 50 years to day on 21 June 1966.

The ceremonial act will begin at 15:00 in the university’s Audimax. Various speakers and presentations await you. First, Rector Professor Ulrich Rüdiger will give his welcoming address. Then, Winfried Kretschmann, minister president of the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, will seize the opportunity to speak. The ceremonial address will be delivered by a renowned scientist and science manager from Switzerland. Professor Dieter Imboden is an environmental physicist from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich and was director of the Swiss National Science Foundation from 2005-2012, which is the Swiss counterpart of the German Research Foundation (DFG). Dieter Imboden was also the chairman of the international experts’ commission that evaluated the German Excellence Initiative. His speech is titled “Ein Leuchtturm steht in Konstanz” (A lighthouse shines in Konstanz). The ceremonial host will be Stephanie Haiber from the SWR radio station.

The event-supporting programme will also provide highlights and insights. The documentary “Ohne Sekretärin läuft nichts!“ (Without a secretary, nothing will work) will début on this day. The film will be introduced by cultural scholar Professor Aleida Assman, who coordinated the film project. Our  anniversary film “Eine kurze Geschichte der Universität Konstanz – 1966 bis 2016” (A short history of the University of Konstanz) will also celebrate its first screening. It will take you on a journey through 50 years of university history. The film was produced by Dr Philipp Fraund, the director of the university’s media lab. Directly following the ceremony, the University of Konstanz will host a summer party. All university members and guests are invited to celebrate together.

The University of Konstanz was founded as a reform and research university. From the very beginning, the university’s goal was to attract the best teachers, students and staff. One of these outstanding individuals was Professor Waldemar Besson, who served the university as a political scientist and as a member of the foundation committee. He was given the honour to hold the inaugural public lecture on 21 June 1966, entitled “Die großen Mächte“ (The Major Powers). To commemorate this event, Professor Katharina Holzinger, chair of International Politics and Conflict Management at the University of Konstanz, will take up Bessons's topic with her presentation "Große Mächte – große Ohnmacht?” (Great powers – great powerlessness?). She will review the historical origins of Besson’s arguments, assess their relevance to the study of the contemporary global power structure, and discuss how the power and influence of nations has changed over the last 50 years. As the venue for both the inaugural lecture and Professor Holzinger’s presentation, the Inselhotel Konstanz will create an atmosphere that will authentically connect the present with the past.

To conclude the anniversary celebration, a very special concert will take place on Saturday, 25 June 2016, starting at 20:00. In cooperation with the choirs of our international partner universities from Kiev and Lyon, the orchestra and choir of the University of Kontanz will present Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana”. The concert will be conducted by our own university music director, Peter Bauer. The children's and youth choir of the music school Konstanz will also be involved. We have selected a special location for the concert: weather permitting, it will be carried out as an open-air concert in the inner courtyard of the Sparkasse bank in Konstanz (if it rains, indoors in the Audimax of the University of Konstanz).

The anniversary celebrations are supported by our community. We would like to thank the city of Konstanz, the Spitalkellerei Konstanz and the Ruppaner brewery. Their contributions demonstrate their great generosity and their friendship with our campus on the Giessberg hill.

Information overview

Tuesday, 21 June 2016, 20:00, Inselhotel:
Professor Katharina Holzinger: “Große Mächte – große Ohnmacht?” (Great powers – great powerlessness?) 50 years after Waldemar Besson’s very first lecture “The Major Powers”

Friday, 24 June 2016, 15:00, Audimax:
Afterwards: Summer party

19:00, room R711:
"Ohne Sekretärin läuft nichts!" (Without a secretary, nothing will work)
Film and introduction by Professor Aleida Assmann

Saturday, 25 June 2016, 20:00, inner courtyard of the Sparkasse (Marktstätte Konstanz):
Anniversary concert "Carmina Burana", directed by Peter Bauer.