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Eva Mayr-Stihl and Robert Bauer made Honorary Senators

The University of Freiburg honors outstanding efforts and service at Dies Universitatis

Freiburg, Jun 06, 2019

Eva Mayr-Stihl and Robert Bauer made Honorary Senators

Robert Bauer and Eva Mayr-Stihl receiving their awards as Honorary Senators from Rector Hans-Jochen Schiewer (left to right). Photo: Patrick Seeger

At the 2019 Dies Universitatis, the Rector Prof. Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer honored two outstanding personalities for their extraordinary commitment to the University of Freiburg by naming them Honorary Senators:

  • Eva Mayr-Stihl, member of the Stihl Advisory and Supervisory Boards and founder and chair of the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation, receives the award for her decade-long contribution to the positive development of the university in the field of forward-looking environmental research. Together with her husband Robert Mayr, who also sits on the board of the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation and has been an Honorary Senator since 2005, she has made a significant contribution since the 1990s to the strategic development of what is today the important field of the environment and sustainability – above all with endowed chairs and named professorships, awards and research funding, initially in the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, later also in the Department of Sustainable Systems Engineering (INATECH) of the Faculty of Engineering.

  • The university is honoring Dr. Robert Bauer, chairman of the board of SICK AG, who in recent years – usually together with the founding family of the Gisela and Erwin Sick Foundation – has significantly shaped the profile of the Faculty of Engineering: with a named professorship and other important funding, but also in the form of joint research projects such as in the key field of data analysis and artificial intelligence, which gave significant stimulus to the ongoing development of the university as a research site. In addition, Dr. Bauer personally supported the university in the current Excellence Strategy competition during the on-site visit by the international committee of experts for the University of Excellence funding line.


For their extraordinary services to the University of Freiburg two eminent individuals have received the University Medal.

  • Dr. Roswitha Honerkamp has for many years been greatly committed to a vibrant alumni culture for the University of Freiburg, especially in the Freiburg region. As a founding member and member of the board of the Alumni Club Südbaden, she has provided outstanding support to the work of the association and for the growth and vibrancy of its network.
  • Dr. Beate Konze-Thomas, who until 2014 was head of the program and infrastructure funding department at the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), has given valuable service to the University of Freiburg as an external member of the Freiburg university board, with two periods in office between 2015 and 2018. She showed great commitment in contributing her professional experience during the preparation of the university for the current national and regional Excellence Strategy.


Three representatives of the student suggestions budget allocation committee (SVB) have symbolically awarded prizes to four of the total 18 projects funded by the Innovative Study competition. These projects aim to encourage innovation and improvement of teaching and learning throughout the university. In 2019 the SVB has a total of approximately 400,000 euros for this. The project funding is awarded depending on the recommendations of students of the University of Freiburg. The prize-winning projects are:

  • ‘Running Mates’ – creation of a program to fund students from non-academic homes (Dr. Günter Schmidt-Gess, Simone Judith Fesenmeier, Truc Nguyen, Department of Instructional Development): By creating social networks of students from non-academic homes the aim is to increase the interchange of information and boost motivation, increase success in studies and encourage students to achieve higher final grades or even to take a PhD. The project will involve close cooperation with student bodies, the Central Academic Advice Office and the external partner

  • Digital skills in Antiquity and History Studies (Prof. Dr. Sitta von Reden, Patrik Pohl, Andreas Schorr, Department of Ancient History; Markus Möller, Archaeology and Classical Studies): The project aims to guide Bachelor’s and Master’s students in the practical use of digitized historic sources. A range of workshops, both short and lasting the semester, will introduce students to the relationship of original and digitized historic sources, teach them to use databases effectively, and improve individual programming skills for source databases.

  • Archiving the Earth (Dr. Lennart A. Fischer, Clare Bamford, Ralf Maier, Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences): This geoscience project deals with issues in relation to the formation and development of the Earth. Natural illustrative material is indispensable when teaching students basic knowledge about rocks. However only limited material is available to students. An innovative photo module aims to make it possible to provide teaching material together with explanations online.

  • Barrier-free excursions for Biology studies (Prof. Dr. Michael Scherer-Lorenzen, Dr. Janina Kirsch, Dr. Anne Liefländer, Alexandra Böminghaus, Faculty of Biology): With guidance from professors, undergraduate assistants will plan excursions that will be accessible to students who have difficulties with mobility. Firstly, these will include excursions that the students can undertake independently and at their own pace. Secondly, they will develop methods for achieving the study goals of an excursion using video or livechat applications.


The Bertha Ottenstein Prize of 2,500 euros for outstanding achievements in the field of women’s and gender research was awarded twice this year by the University of Freiburg:

  • The maniACTs theater group from the Department of English received the award for its series of events ‘PUSSY POWER. a full cycle of feminism’. The series incorporated presentation of the play ‘Vagina Monologues’ by Eve Ensler, a classic of feminist literature, in a broad supporting program on issues of women’s rights, women’s bodies and feminism.

  • Prof. Dr. Weertje Willms, Department of German, received the prize for her project ‘Genderaspekte in der Kinder- und Jugendliteratur’. The weekly sessions analyzed and interpreted classics of children’s and young adult literature, from the Enlightenment to the present day, from the point of view of gender aspects. The second part of the session was a conference on the same theme, which was not only attended by the seminar participants but also jointly prepared and structured.


The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) award recognizes foreign students who complete their degrees at a German university for outstanding academic performance and remarkable social or intercultural commitment. Endowed with 1,000 euros, the prize went to Teodora Stojanović from Serbia, who is taking a Bachelor’s degree at the University College Freiburg (UCF). Teodora Stojanović was elected in her second year to the chair of the UCF Student Council. During her one year in office, she initiated activities which were always focused on integration of international students at the UCF. Her interest in social issues and interculturality could also be seen from her commitment away from studying in Serbia and Germany: amongst other things she mentors the Serbian organization Students Abroad, is chair of the student film club Vaukino Freiburg and – as the sole international member – a member of the council of the student village of Vauban.


The University of Freiburg also awarded prizes to two outstanding concepts for creative higher education with the Instructional Development Award (IDA). The award along with its 70,000 euros went to:

  • Prof. Dr. Martina Backes and Prof. Dr. Weertje Willms, Institute of Medieval German Studies and Institute of Modern German Literature: ‘Kreatives Schreiben. Ein innovatives Kurskonzept zum Forschenden Lernen mit Praxisbezug in Kooperation mit dem Literaturhaus Freiburg’

  • Prof. Dr. Ute Spiekerkötter, Prof. Dr. Andrea Heinzmann and Dr. Sebastian Bode, Freiburg University Medical Center: ‘Implementierung einer interprofessionellen Ausbildungsstation (IPAPÄD) am Zentrum für Kinder- und Jugendmedizin’


More information about the IDA 2018/19