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50 Years of TU Dortmund University

TU Dortmund University Celebrated 50th Anniversary with Festive Ceremony and Award of Honorary Doctorate to Donald Tusk

On 16 December 2018, TU Dortmund University celebrated its 50th anniversary with two illustrious events. At noon, H.E. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, was awarded an honorary doctorate by TU Dortmund University. In the evening, more than 1,000 guests celebrated the university’s 50th anniversary at a festive ceremony in the Dortmund Concert Hall.

More than 700 participants were guests at the award ceremony in the Audimax of TU Dortmund University on Sunday morning. By conferring an honorary doctorate on Donald Tusk on its anniversary day, Rector Prof. Dr. Ursula Gather emphasised in her welcoming speech that TU Dortmund University is once again underscoring its own commitment to European values such as freedom, truth and a sense of community. Professor Süssmuth said that the honorary doctorate sends a “powerful signal” in a time when the commitment to freedom and cooperation in Europe seems to be under attack.

TU Dortmund University awarded the honorary doctorate upon the initiative of the Faculty of Human Sciences and Theology in the discipline of political science. As the laudations emphasise, Donald Tusk combines active political engagement with value-based reflection; his biography thus unites political practice and scientific insight. His political activity, moreover, sustainably influences the European debate in political science on issues such as the process of European integration.

President Tusk thanked TU Dortmund University for the honorary doctorate: “I am proud and I am moved by this special distinction,” he said. 

Group photo of two men and two women on a stage © Lutz Kampert
Prof. Dr. Christoph Schuck, laudator Prof. Dr. Rita Süssmuth and Rector Prof. Dr. Ursula Gather congratulated His Excellency Donald Tusk on his award of honory doctorate.

Applause arose in the audience when he declared in German: “Ich bin ein Dortmunder.” He shared the enthusiasm of all Dortmunders for Borussia Dortmund, he said, because the football team also reflected the close relationship between his home country Poland and Germany. Regarding Europe he said: “It is more important to build bridges than to build walls.” He quoted the former German president Johannes Rau, another holder of an honorary doctorate from TU Dortmund University: “We need to reconcile not divide.”

Festive Ceremony in the Concert Hall

At the ceremony in the evening, Rector Ursula Gather expressed pride in the young and modern university. “If we take a look into the future, we have every reason to believe that many more anniversaries will follow for our university,” said Gather. TU Dortmund University stands in the more than nine-centuries-old tradition of the institution “University”, which emanated from Europe to places throughout the world. Universitas, freedom, truth, diversity – these are the values that guided universities back then as well as today. “These values also shape us at TU Dortmund University in our actions, in research, teaching and learning, in our thinking and in our everyday university life. They have guided us in the right direction over the past 50 years and will continue to guide us in the future,” said the Rector.

Donald Tusk held the festive lecture in the Concert Hall. In his stirring lecture, Donald Tusk recalled the special significance that the date of 16 December has not only for TU Dortmund University, but also for him personally: 40 years ago, as a teenager, he experienced how the army shot protesting workers in his home town of Gdańsk – a founding myth of the Polish trade union Solidarność, which played a decisive role in the political transformation in 1989. He appealed to the political leaders of our time to fulfil their roles not only with technocratic skill and the ability to stay in power, but also to use the potential of emotions to defend our common fundamental values. “Europe is the best place on Earth. And the European Union is the best political invention in our history – as long as we stand by these principles. That’s what my heart and mind tell me, my knowledge and my faith. And being with you here today, I know that I am not alone,” Tusk said.

On the occasion of the anniversary, Anja Karliczek, Federal Minister of Education and Research, Armin Laschet, Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Ullrich Sierau, Mayor of Dortmund, also congratulated the university at the event. On behalf of the Association of Friends of TU Dortmund University, Guido Baranowski donated funding for a new university guest house for in­ter­na­tio­nal guest scientists. The musical accompaniment to the ceremony was provided by the Dortmund Student Orchestra and the Dortmund University Choir.

History of TU Dortmund University in a nutshell

On 16 December 1968, the then University of Dortmund was opened with a ceremony in Dortmund’s opera house. Twenty-five students began their first semester the following April. Since then, TU Dortmund University has been steadily growing decade by decade. Today it has around 34,500 students and 6,300 employees, including around 300 professors. In the early days, a large number of buildings were quickly built in the west of Dortmund. Today, the North and South Campuses are home to 16 faculties of natural sciences, engineering, social sciences and culture studies.

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Location & approach

The campus of TU Dortmund University is located close to interstate junction Dortmund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dortmund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dortmund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Campus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dortmund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Campus Nord). Signs for the university are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dortmund.

To get from Campus Nord to Campus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Campus Nord and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.

TU Dortmund University has its own train station ("Dortmund Universität"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dortmund main station ("Dortmund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The university is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dortmund city to the university: From Dortmund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dortmund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dortmund main station to the stop "Dortmund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dortmund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dortmund Universität S".

Dortmund Airport offers flights to several destinations in Central Europe. There are regular connections to Katowice, Kraków, London and Munich. For the approximately 20km-trip from Dortmund Airport to TU Dortmund University, you can use a shuttle bus to the railway Station "Bahnhof Holzwickede", from which trains depart to Dortmund main station (please visit Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr for more information). Normally, the fastest way is to catch a taxi at Dortmund Airport.

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dortmund University. There are two stations on Campus Nord. One ("Dortmund Universität S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the university directly with the city of Dortmund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Campus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Campus Nord and offers a direct connection to Campus Süd every five minutes.

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