1 October 2020 marked the start of the academic year 2020/2021 at the Jagiellonian University. “When the new academic year begins, we always take a look back at the history of our University, which has been full of great events, but also of difficult times. The academic community was able to live through these hardships with perseverance, determination and wisdom. This gives us hope that we will also overcome the current crisis caused by the pandemic”, said the JU Rector Prof. Jacek Popiel.
The ceremony took place in Collegium Novum Assembly Hall, where the traditional procession of university professors arrived from Collegium Maius – the historic seat of the University.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the celebrations were modest as compared to the previous years, when the academic year opening ceremony was held in the much larger assembly hall of Auditorium Maximum.
The event started with the official handover of the insignia of Rector’s office: the sceptre, the chain and the ring, presented by the outgoing Rector of the oldest Polish university Prof. Wojciech Nowak to the new Rector Prof. Jacek Popiel, elected for the period 2020-2024.
In his address, Prof. Popiel stressed that the present pandemic, which no one could have foreseen, has posed a great challenge to the academic community. The Rector thanked all those whose efforts have made the functioning of the University possible during this most difficult time. He also underlined that during his time in office he would like to be responsive to the needs of the academic community and always listen to the voice of the University staff and students.
Referring to the role of University in the society, Prof. Jacek Popiel expressed the opinion that scholars have the right and responsibility to publicly voice their views in the areas of their expertise and take active part in the public debate.
During the opening ceremony, the outgoing JU Rector Prof. Wojciech Nowak was presented with the Gold Medal “Plus Ratio Quam Vis” for his extraordinary services to the University, including the outstanding contribution to its development in the area of research and education. The Jagiellonian Laurels - the JU Rector’s awards for extraordinary research accomplishments in the last five years were awarded to Prof. Wojciech Kucharz (in the field of Medical Sciences) and, posthumously, to Prof. Franciszek Ziejka (in the field of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Law).
The JU Vice-Rector for Research Prof. Piotr Kuśtrowski briefly summarised the University’s achievements in research. According to his report, in the academic year 2019/2020 the Jagiellonian University received as many as 342 grants worth nearly 300 million zlotys in total. Currently, the Jagiellonian University is running 1,270 projects, whose total value is about 1 billion 660 million zlotys.
The most important part of the ceremony – the matriculation of students representing all 16 faculties of the University – was carried out by the JU Vice-Rector for Educational Affairs Prof. Armen Edigarian, who wished the students scholarly enthusiasm and great academic achievements.
The event concluded with an opening lecture about the philosopher Roman Ingarden, delivered by Prof. Leszek Sosnowski from the JU Faculty of Philosophy.