Erasmus University’s 105th anniversary celebrations start in Laurenskerk Church

Celebrations for Erasmus University Rotterdam’s 105th anniversary have now started. Rector Magnificus Professor Rutger Engels officially opened the new academic year in the Laurenskerk yesterday. The university is celebrating its 105th anniversary during this academic year. Kristel Baele, President of the Executive Board, presented the framework for the new EUR strategy.

The official Opening of the Academic Year marked the start of Erasmus University's 105th anniversary celebrations. The university is celebrating this anniversary together with the city of Rotterdam and its residents on the theme of ‘Science Meets City: Getting to know each other’. The location chosen for the Opening - the Laurenskerk Church in Rotterdam city centre - was a special one for this very reason.


Kristel Baele, President of the Executive Board, presented the framework for Erasmus University’s new strategy during the Opening. This framework comprises 7 priorities and a new mission: creating positive societal impact. ‘Our mission will serve as our compass: it will focus our attention, inspire us in our daily activities and provide direction when we are faced with strategic choices.’  Among other things, these 7 priorities concern future-oriented education, interdisciplinary approach, sustainability and investing in talent.

During the next few months, students, staff and stakeholders will be giving substance to the framework. The new strategy for the coming five years will be presented during the Opening of the 2019 Academic Year. ‘We are confident that with this mission and these seven strategic priorities, we will become a frontrunner among leading universities,’ Ms Baele said.


In his speech, Rector Magnificus Rutger Engels emphasised the impact that our university could have - and already does have - on Rotterdam. He wants the student population to be a more accurate representation of the people of Rotterdam. “We should give everyone the same opportunity to follow an academic education. Erasmus University is more than willing to be a driver in that effort, together with other institutions in this city.”

The theme of this year’s Opening of the Academic Year was ‘Value in diversity’. Guest speaker Natalia Goncharova (ABN Amro, Women in Financial Services) said in her speech: ‘Diversity and talent create power and profit.” She commented on the best possible balance between male and female values and needs, as well as how to achieve this balance: ‘Recognising and appreciating diversity is not enough. It’s the next step that leads to growth: complementarity.’ Natalia Goncharova added that a great deal of work still has to be done in this field, including research, in order to attain true diversity in organisations. She said: ‘Why is it that with every step forward on the career ladder, the percentage of women takes a step backward?’

This year's Student in the Spotlight was Kenyan ISS student Levis Maina Nderitu. He had the opportunity to tell everyone present about his Sullivan Reed Society, which provides support to the LGBT community in respect of businesses, particularly in Kenya. And finally, the academic awards were presented during the Opening of the Academic Year as well.


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