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TU Dort­mund University Celebrates 50th Anniversary with a Festive Ceremony in the Dort­mund Concert Hall

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group photo © Lutz Kampert
Guido Baranowski, Chairman of the Association of Friends (GdF) Executive Board, Ullrich Sierau, Mayor of the city of Dort­mund, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Professor Ursula Gather, Rector of TU Dort­mund University, Armin Laschet, Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia, Anja Karliczek, Federal Minister of Education and Research (left to right).

TU Dort­mund University celebrated its 50th anniversary on Sunday, 16 December, with a festive ceremony in the Dort­mund Concert Hall. “We are proud to be a young and modern university,” said Professor Ursula Gather, Rector of TU Dort­mund University. “Even though we are a young university we stand in the long tradition of European universities, which have shared common values such as freedom since the Middle Ages.” On its anniversary day, the university underscored its commitment to these values by awarding an honorary doctorate to the President of the European Council, H.E. Donald Tusk, who gave a ceremonial lecture in front of more than 1,000 guests in the Concert Hall.

 Official welcome by the rector (in German)
Ceremonial lecture in full text 
Excerpt from the lecture in video

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.

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.

In the tradition of European universities and values

“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. By awarding Donald Tusk an honorary doctorate, TU Dort­mund University has once again underscored its commitment to European values in its anniversary year.

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.

Congratulations on the occasion of the 50th anniversary

Anja Karliczek, Federal Minister of Education and Research, visited the city already in September on the occasion of the “Highlights of Physics”. She congratulated TU Dort­mund University on behalf of the Federal Government on its 50th anniversary and said: “It is important to me that people can recognise that research and innovation help them in their lives. Then trust will grow in the opportunities created by new technologies. This is particularly important for topics such as artificial intelligence. At TU Dort­mund University there are numerous good examples of successful communication and transfer from the past 50 years – for example in the research fields of data analysis and production technology, but also in school education and vocational training. My wish is that in the coming 50 years TU Dort­mund University will continue to be so successful in providing encouragement for the future.”

Armin Laschet, Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia, conveyed the congratulations of the state government and the state: “When TU Dort­mund University was founded, coal and steel set the pace in the region. It was not education that was regarded as the decisive raw material at the time, but the 'black gold' underground. Today, TU Dort­mund University is a key driver of science and innovation in North Rhine-Westphalia and impressively demonstrates that transformation has been successfully achieved here. TU Dort­mund University can be proud of this.”

Ullrich Sierau, Mayor of the city of Dort­mund and himself an alumnus of the university, also expressed his congratulations: “TU Dort­mund University is a formative pillar of our city. It gives Dort­mund a youthful and creative ambience, but also an in­ter­na­tio­nal flair. In recent years, Dort­mund has established itself as a city of science. Here academia, industry and civil society work hand in hand for the future of our city. This development would not have been possible without the very existence and at the same time the extraordinary commitment of the university.”

Association of Friends presents anniversary gift

It is not self-evident that there has been a university in Dort­mund for 50 years now. A glimpse into the past shows with what patience and tenacity the sponsors once fought for Dort­mund as a city of science: in 1958 – ten years before the university was opened – leaders from business and industry, science and politics from Dort­mund and the region joined forces to form the Association of Friends (GdF) to work for the establishment of a technical university in Dort­mund. In 1962, the state government announced that Dort­mund should become a university location. In 1968, the university was finally opened.

 From the initial group of 50 people, a support association evolved which today has around 500 members. The GdF supports projects and activities of TU Dort­mund University in a variety of ways. “The in­ter­na­tio­nal orientation of the university is particularly close to our hearts. We want to continue to drive this development forward in the future,” said Guido Baranowski, Chairman of the GdF Executive Board. For this reason, the GdF gave TU Dort­mund University a special birthday present: funding for a new guest house in which in­ter­na­tio­nal guest researchers can live close to the campus. The GdF thus continues its commitment: Already back in 1979, the Association of Friends decided to build the first guest house, which is now to be replaced by a modern new building.

Cafeteria menus

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.