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Handover of Chain of Office Rounds Off Change at Top of TU Dort­mund University

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Eine Frau und ein Mann stehen im Audimax. Auf den Rängen sitzen Personen mit Abstand. © Oliver Schaper​/​TU Dort­mund
New rector Professor Manfred Bayer with his predecessor Professor Ursula Gather in the Main Lecture Hall. Because of the co­ro­na­virus crisis, the handing over of the chain of office took place in a small circle.

With the highly symbolic act of handing over the chain of office, the new rector of TU Dort­mund University, Professor Manfred Bayer, was officially instated on Thursday, 8 October 2020, and Professor Ursula Gather was ceremoniously bid farewell after 12 years in office as rector. Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, Minister of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia, acknowledged her services to TU Dort­mund University, the Ruhr Science Region and the universities in NRW.

“Professor Ursula Gather took on a lot of res­pon­si­bi­li­ty: As rector for many years, she has further developed TU Dort­mund University and sharpened its profile; she has also been responsible for the State Rectors’ Conference, on whose behalf she represented the interests of science towards regional politics very efficiently over a long period. And finally, she took on res­pon­si­bi­li­ty for Dort­mund as a location for science and research through intensive dialog with urban society and the business community. On behalf of the regional govern­ment, I thank her most sincerely for her tremendous dedication,” said the minister in her address. “With Professor Bayer, an equally acclaimed academic is now taking over the office of rector. I wish him every success in his new role and look forward to working together with him.”

Welcome address by Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, Minister of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia, at the handing over of the chain of office.

Because of the co­ro­na­virus crisis, the handing over of the chain of office took place in a small circle: About 80 guests sat a long distance apart in the rows of the Main Lecture Hall, among them the mem­bers of the University Elective Assembly, the deans of the seventeen faculties as well as the mem­bers of the old and the new rectorate. Also present were four former rectors: Professor Erich te Kaat (1976-1978), Professor Paul Velsinger (1978-1990), Professor Detlef Müller-Böling (1990-1994) and Professor Eberhard Becker (2002-2008), who had handed over the chain of office to Professor Ursula Gather.

“Delight in new ideas, tenacity and enthusiasm”

“Why would anyone burden themselves with such an office?” asked Professor Ernst Rank, long-standing chairman of the University Council of TU Dort­mund University, in his welcome address: “To organize hundreds of rectorate meetings with thousands of items on the agenda you need creative drive alongside moderating skills as well as special commitment towards the institution,” he said. “Thank you, dear Ursula, for filling this office for twelve years with your delight in new ideas and your tenacity as well as with enthusiasm for ‘your’ uni­ver­si­ty.” That TU Dort­mund University has now once more been able to recruit a top researcher from among its own ranks for this office in the shape of Manfred Bayer was a stroke of luck, he added.

Professor Ursula Gather had already handed over the official duties to her successor on 1 September 2020. At her official farewell, she expressed the gratitude with which she looked back at the past twelve years, also mentioning both the situation in the world as well as regional politics and uni­ver­si­ty life: “I’m grateful that I was able to work as a scientist in an in­ter­na­tio­nal community. Grateful for national, regional and civic support for Dort­mund as a scientific location. Grateful for trusting cooperation with the committees at our uni­ver­si­ty,” she said. That is why she was happy to pass on the praise for past successes and ended her speech with the words: “It was teamwork!”

Resounding applause for many accomplishments

TU mem­bers and guests in the audience expressed their appreciation for this teamwork with resounding applause. After all, these joint successes include, among others, a place in the Excellence Initiative, a transparent budgeting model for the faculties, the approval of a new building for the Central Library, Dort­mund’s “Masterplan Science”, the regaining of uni­ver­si­ty autonomy and – not least – successful crisis management in the co­ro­na­virus semester of 2020.

Professor Ursula Gather hands new rector Professor Manfred Bayer the chain of office.

Professor Ursula Gather then handed over the chain of office to Professor Manfred Bayer at a fitting distance – the new rector had to put it round his neck himself due to the co­ro­na­virus restrictions. “With its 52 years, TU Dort­mund University is still a young uni­ver­si­ty that offers many opportunities for further development,” he said. “I’m taking over a neat and tidy house, and with my work I can build on a solid foundation built over the past years. My thanks go to Ursula Gather and her team.”

“It’s decided on the pitch”

What matters now, he said, is to continue this successful work in the long term and to further advance the uni­ver­si­ty by setting new highlights. In Professor Bayer’s view, the uni­ver­si­ty has long been a “flagship” for Dort­mund as a location for science and research; his goal now, among others, is to further accentuate its excellent work in research and teaching at in­ter­na­tio­nal level too. “Science and research are the basis and benchmark for all our work,” said Bayer, “because, after all, it’s decided on the pitch.”

In the closing words, Professor Lorenz Schwachhöfer, Chairman of the Senate, joined in the thanks on behalf of the entire senate. Himself Professor Bayer’s successor in this capacity, he wished his long-standing companion many successful years at the uni­ver­si­ty: “Anyone who has experienced how Professor Bayer fielded topics and solved problems as chairman of the senate knows that choosing him for the office of rector was a good decision. We wish him the same skillful touch in his new role as he demonstrated as spokesman for the senate.”

Model of the Math Tower as a leaving present

As a memento of her work at TU Dort­mund University, Professor Gather was given a model of the Math Tower as a gift: As professor at the Faculty of Statistics, she had her office there for 22 years. As rector, she had the TU logo installed on the roof ten years ago, so that the highest building on the campus is meanwhile a kind of landmark in the region. Together with “Jazz in Opera”, bass-baritone Morgan Moody from Dort­mund Opera House serenaded her on the stage – naturally at a minimum distance of over four meters from the first row of the lecture hall.

Professor Ursula Gather, former rector of TU Dort­mund University, with her successor Professor Manfred Bayer in front of a model of the math building of TU Dort­mund University.

Impressions of the Handover of Chain of Office

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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".

The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dort­mund Airport (DTM) to Dort­mund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dort­mund Central Station, you can continue to the uni­ver­si­ty campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of in­ter­na­tio­nal flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the uni­ver­si­ty station.

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.

The facilities of TU Dort­mund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the uni­ver­si­ty are located in the adjacent "Technologiepark".

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