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Jacobs University Celebrates Start of the Academic Year

Dean Arvid Kappas and Dean Werner Nau at the Annual Opening Ceremony of Jacobs University. The new academic year started on September 1, 2022. (Source: Jacobs University)


September 6, 2022
On September 1, 2022 Jacobs University started the new academic year with the traditional Annual Opening Ceremony. University President Fabio Pammolli welcomed around 600 new students who joined the hybrid event on campus in Bremen or tuned in online. Furthermore, the best theses from the previous year as well as the Teachers of the Year were honored.

Both, Heiko Dornstedt, district mayor of Bremen-Vegesack, and President Pammolli mentioned Bremen’s Hanseatic history in their respective welcome speeches. They drew the connection to Jacobs University as the historic League that overcame numerous cultural barriers, which is also part of everyday life of the diverse student body at Jacobs University. “It is on us to interpret the Hanseatic spirit in a new way,” Pammolli said, referencing the buccaneer and innovative spirit of the league. Hence, Jacobs University will offer new study programs to sharpen its students’ digital skills as well as encourage their entrepreneurial thinking. He urged students to be part of the transformation: “Here, on campus, you have the opportunity of inquiry, dialogue and criticism. Take it – and get the best out of it!”

Philipp Rösler, Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of Jacobs University, reflected the current global state, the war in Europe, and decreasing international cooperation. In his opinion, Jacobs University represents the opposite: “There are students from more than 110 countries in this room,” he said, “you will live and learn together and symbolize global cooperation and freedom of science, research and education.”

The Dean’s Prize honors exactly this idea and the unique ability of Jacobs students to generate knowledge in order to tackle important societal challenges. Three bachelor theses, one from each School, as well as one master thesis were chosen for the award. This year’s winners were Mikhael Astorga (BSc Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology), who worked on the characterization of proteins from selected seeds, Shresth Agrawal (BSc Computer Science), who did research on the Blockchain Etherum, and Eleanor Louise Cwik (BA Society, Media and Politics), who conducted a study about the subjective understanding of safety amongst Jacobs students. The prize for the best master thesis went to Bonaventure Dossou, for his work on Deep Learning in cancer research.

Nominated by their students, historian Julia Timpe, biochemist Sebastian Springer as well as engineer Stanislav Chankov received the Teacher of the Year Awards. They got a big round of applause for their practice-oriented teaching both in the laboratories, as well as lecture halls, and continuous support beyond their classrooms.
Keynote speaker, Serg Bell, spoke about the lifechanging power of education, science and entrepreneurship. The tech entrepreneur, investor and executive emphasized the importance of mathematics and how it also applies to social and life sciences at Jacobs University. He promised to support the new students on their route to a successful career.

At the end of the event, Dean Arvid Kappas motioned to officially open the academic year and encouraged all students to take a moment to slow down and reflect on their emotions. This would enable them to notice their change and growth when they receive their diplomas in the same hall in two to three years’ time.

Watch the recording: