Birthday Erasmus University Rotterdam greatly celebrated

The past, the present and the future took centre stage on Friday 8 November 2013 at the celebration of the hundredth Dies Natalis of Erasmus University Rotterdam. The speeches during the official ceremony looked back on one hundred years of teaching and research and took stock of what had been achieved and what was still to be done. The celebrating university also conferred eight honorary doctorates and said farewell to the retiring rector while welcoming the new one. About 2,000 people attended the celebrations in De Doelen where Princess Beatrix was the guest of honour.

Thanks to the initiative of a number of Rotterdam business community members, the Netherlands School of Commerce (predecessor of Erasmus School of Economics) was festively opened on 8 November 1913 in De Doelen. Exactly a century later the present De Doelen was the backdrop to the celebrations for the university’s 100th anniversary.

The president of the executive board Pauline van der Meer Mohr referred in her opening words to the value of one hundred years’ impact created by researchers, students and alumni. In his Centennial speech Professor Philip Hans Franses, Dean of Erasmus School of Economics, spoke of the hundred year history of his School and its future. He ended his speech with a spectacular video.

During the anniversary ceremony Professor Henk Schmidt stepped down as rector magnificus and handed over to Professor Huibert Pols.

Honorary doctorates

During the official ceremony as part of the centennial anniversary eight honorary doctorates were conferred on prominent scientists. On the recommendation of Erasmus School of Economics Professor Steven Levitt (1967) was honored (see pictures below).

Levitt is an American economist, known for his best-selling book Freakonomics (2005) and its sequel Superfreakonomics (2009). He is a winner of the 2004 John Bates Clark Medal, which is awarded to an American economist under the age of forty who is adjudged to have made a significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge. In addition he was chosen as one of Time Magazine’s ‘100 people who shape our world’, in 2006.

In the morning each School had organised programmes around their ‘own’ honorary doctor. The commemorative programme of Erasmus School of Economics reflected on some of the School’s many achievements. Also a group of students were laureated that completed their first bachelor year Cum Laude. In addition, Honorary Doctor Steven Levitt delivered an inspirational keynote address to his audience. Levitt shared his experiences and findings on his crime research in relation to the impact on economy and society.

The reception afterwards was followed by a buffet dinner and a classical concert by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, led by the inspiring guest conductor Jaap van Zweden.

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