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The Digital Dies Universitatis 2021

Rector Kerstin Krieglstein awards the University of Freiburg’s Medal to six outstanding personalities

Freiburg, Jul 07, 2021

The Digital Dies Universitatis 2021

During the ceremony not only the medals were awarded, but also the new members of the rectorate introduced themselves. Photo: Patrick Seeger

At the Dies Universitatis on 7 July 2021, rector Prof. Dr. Kerstin Krieglstein is honoring six outstanding personalities for their exceptional work at the University of Freiburg: “Each of you has achieved great things for the university. We honor your commitment by awarding the University Medal, and with it our great respect and thanks.” The corona pandemic means that the Dies Universitatis is taking place online via live stream for the first time. In her address, the rector spoke about her goals at the recently-elected Rectorate: in the coming years, among other things, performance in research will be stepped up even more, in order to secure the innovative and competitive strength of the university in the long term. Digitally-based teaching and learning formats will become a permanent enhancement and students will receive even better support for the start of their studies. In addition, the Rectorate will continue to develop the relationship between the university and society, and will maintain its dialog with society about potential solutions for the key questions and challenges of today and tomorrow.

The ceremony was also an opportunity to introduce recent additions to the Rectorate. At concluding discussions, members of the Rectorate talked about their plans and visions for the University of Freiburg. The public was able to ask questions.

The following were honored with a University Medal:

Prof. Dr. Juliane Besters-Dilger, full-time Vice President for Academic Affairs from 2014 to 2020, oversaw amongst other things the transition for teaching degree programs from state examination to Bachelor and Master and with it laid the path for the Freiburg Advanced Center of Education (FACE) inter-university School of Education. Besters-Dilger was furthermore responsible for the introduction of system accreditation at the University of Freiburg and the development of a strategy for digitization in teaching and learning.

Prof. Dr. Gunther Neuhaus, full-time vice-rector and vice president for research in the years 2012 to 2020, was responsible for future concepts for research – including the two successfully funded Clusters of Excellence at the University of Freiburg, third-party funding, quality management and the support for cooperative research structures. He also led the development of a new concept for the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS).

Prof. Dr. Gisela Riescher, vice president for academic integrity, equal opportunities and diversity in the years 2014 to 2021, established for example career advancement elements such as the CORA program (Coaching Women for Research and Academia). She also further developed the bridging scholarship STAY! and set up Freiburg’s series of talks on academic integrity. At a European level, she worked on the League of European Research Universities (LERU) to promote the issue of academic integrity.

Dr. Helmut Waller, deputy chair and subsequently chair of the staff council in the years 2010 to 2020, was the point of contact for University of Freiburg staff and stood up for their interests. Today he remains active on the staff council as an elected member.

Dr. Wolfgang Jansen was a pioneer and patron of the Center for Popular Culture and Music (ZPKM) at the University of Freiburg. In 2010 he initiated the foundation of the German musical archive which is now a fundamental element of the ZPKM. He also brought academics together for networking annually with theatrical creatives at a variety of venues, and raised the profile of the University of Freiburg in the theatrical landscape.

The American researcher Prof. Dr. Martin Trethewey was engaged in the development of the key strategic alliance between the University of Freiburg and the Pennsylvania State University, where he researches and teaches in the field of engineering. The awarding of the University Medal was delayed since last year as a result of the pandemic.

Also cited was the work of Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schneider, first vice president for digital transformation at the University of Freiburg from 2018 to 2020. Schneider has already received the University Medal in 2008, when he was the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and former vice president for knowledge transfer and communication technologies.


Invitation with program

Video of the awarding of the University Medals 2021


Roxane Grisot
Public Relations and Event Management
University of Freiburg
Tel.: +49 761 203 4986

Franziska Becker
Press office
University of Freiburg
Tel.: +49 761 203 54271