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TU Dort­mund University Awards Honorary Doctorate to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council

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A smiling Donald Tusk holding his Honorary Doctorate certificate into the camera. Professor Schuck, Rita Süssmuth and Rector Ursula Gather stand next to him and applaud © Lutz Kampert
Prof. Dr. Ursula Gather congratulated Donald Tusk on his honorary doctorate from TU Dort­mund University. Prof. Dr. Rita Süssmuth had previously honoured Tusk for his life's work in her laudation. The Faculty of Human Sciences and Theology, represented by Dean Prof. Dr. Christoph Schuck, had nominated Donald Tusk for the award (from left).

H. E. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, has received an honorary doctorate from TU Dort­mund University. On Sunday, December 16th, Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Ursula Gather, Rector of TU Dort­mund University, awarded him the honorary doctorate in recognition of his services to European politics and his contribution to the debate on European values. Prof. Dr. Rita Süssmuth, former President of the German Bundestag and for many years a professor at TU Dort­mund University, held the laudatory address, in which she thanked Donald Tusk for promoting solidarity in Europe.

Welcome speech of the rector
Acceptance speech

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.

In her laudation, Süssmuth praised Donald Tusk for his many years of involvement in the Polish political scene and his passionate commitment to the European Union. "With the profound belief that European integration is the only way to sustain freedom and democracy and to strengthen these in society, Donald Tusk resembles the founding fathers of the European Community. And this holds true even though or maybe even because he spent more than half of his life behind the Iron Curtain," said Süssmuth.

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. Prof. Dr. Christoph Schuck, Dean of the Faculty and a political scientist himself, said: “With the honorary doctorate we want to thank President Tusk for his achievements in the European integration process. And we would also like to encourage him to continue his commitment for our beloved Europe.”

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

At TU Dort­mund University, Donald Tusk continues the series of thus far 60 prominent holders of honorary doctorates. Besides Johannes Rau, these include Konrad Zuse, the inventor of the first computer, Fritz Pleitgen, former director general of Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), and Jerzy Buzek, former Polish prime minister and chemical engineer.

Brief Biography of Donald Tusk

Donald Tusk has been President of the European Council since 2014. He was born in 1957 in Gdańsk, Poland, and studied history at the University of Gdańsk from 1976. He was active in the solidarity movement of Poland in the 1980s, first as the founder of a student association, later underground after the ban of the association. With the advent of the Third Polish Republic in 1989, he helped shape the development of the free party system. In 2007 he became Prime Minister of Poland, and in 2011 he was the first incumbent to be re-elected. Three years later he gave up his post as Polish Prime Minister to take over the Presidency of the European Council. He has already received several important awards for his political commitment to strengthening the European community of values, including the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen (2010).


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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.