The Technical University of Munich (TUM) concluded the university year with the gala "Dies Academicus" celebration. Against a backdrop of the central impact of Corona pandemic restrictions on university life in 2021, President Thomas F. Hofmann spoke of the fantastic successes on the part of TUM students, employees, supporters and friends. He thanked the TUM family for its enormous dedication and had special praise for the medical personnel at the TUM clinics for excellent service under an "unbelievable workload."
Speaking in the Audimax auditorium at the TUM main campus, Hofmann recalled "the most beautiful day of the year," October 18, as he was able to welcome 14,000 new students to in-person winter semester classes. "You fill TUM with life - and you fill us with joy!" said the university president. TUM has set a new enrollment record with a total of 48,200 students. The share of woman students rose to 37 percent, double the number recorded one decade ago. Hofmann added that a 38 percent share of international students from 140 countries makes TUM more diverse than ever. "You are turning us into a really global university!"
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President Hofmann also outlined TUM’s plans for the future: "We want to become the Thought Leader for trustworthy, socially compatible and sustainable innovations. Our guiding vision, Human-Centered Engineering, is at the core of this development." Here we integrate economic, ecological, political and societal concerns in the innovation processes of technology development as well as in teaching. "The future does not need ’nerds’ - much more it needs excellently educated personalities who reflect more on their own actions, who think in political terms and can thus better orient technical functionalities towards humans, and who can also think and act in terms of an ecologically sustainable Circular Economy."
President Hofmann went on to say that TUM, focusing on complex challenges, is well on its way to becoming a system-integrative university with a matrix structure of Schools and Integrative Research Centers which promote innovation. "This will make us more agile, more efficient and more scientifically dynamic in our research and teaching activities."
2021 marked the start of three more Schools: The TUM School of Engineering & Design consolidates expertise from the fields of mechanical engineering as well as civil, geo and environmental engineering, aerospace and geodesy and a part of electrical engineering and architecture. The TUM School of Social Sciences and Technology takes the TUM faculties for social sciences, political science and educational sciences subjects from their peripheral positions to a single instance at the center of the university. The third school, the TUM School of Management, focuses on the interfaces of management, leadership and technologies.
The first School, launched in 2020, was the TUM School of Life Sciences in Weihenstephan. The TUM School of Natural Sciences and the TUM School of Computation, Information & Technology will follow next year. The structural reform will be completed in 2023 with the TUM School of Medicine & Health, which will also incorporate sports sciences.
Bavarian Minister of Science Bernd Sibler said on the occasion of the gala ceremonies in the Audimax at the TUM main campus: "Excellent science and research are the central factors in making sure that we can continue to live well in the future. In this context the challenges of our world are so multi-layered and complex that interdisciplinary collaboration and exchange among the widest possible range of academic disciplines is essential for new perspectives, solutions and findings. TUM embodies the holistic scientific approach in a more than exemplary manner, driving the connection of the classical strengths of a Technical University of Excellence with humanities and social sciences. This lays the foundation for the innovations of the future which can make all of our lives a little bit better every day."
In his address, student representative Fabian Richter discussed the side-effects of the Corona protective measures at universities. He referred to the high restrictions placed on students by state regulations as "hard to understand", pointing out that vaccination rates are after all particularly high among university students. The damage resulting from missed in-class instruction "can hardly be expressed in numerical terms," he warned.
In his speech President Hofmann further emphasized the collective and dedicated effort on the part of all at TUM in handling the pandemic. "I cannot thank all of you enough for your personal efforts in research, teaching, administration, for your flexibility and your pragmatism." He added that this was the only way for TUM to make its way through the Corona crisis. "This is our shared success! I greatly appreciate your commitment and loyalty - Thank you!"
A number of awards were also presented during the annual Dies Academicus academic celebration:
In his keynote address, President Hofmann mentioned some particularly prestigious awards presented to TUM researchers in 2021:
President Prof Thomas F. Hofmann during his speech at Dies AcademicusImage: Andreas Heddergott / TUM
TUM Jazzband performing at Dies AcademicusImage: Andreas Heddergott / TUM
Prof. Alena Buyx (l.) receives TUM’s highest award, the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Medal, from Executive Vice President Prof. Juliane Winkelmann.Image: Andreas Heddergott / TUM
Prof. Johannes Fottner (center) and Prof. Magnus Fröhling (right) receive the TUM Sustainability Award for the CirculaTUM network from Executive Vice President Prof. Gerhard Kramer.Image: Andreas Heddergott / TUM
Celonis co-founder Martin Klenk (right) receives the TUM Entrepreneur of Excellence award from TUM Executive Vice President Prof. Gerhard Müller.
President Prof. Thomas F. Hofmann (left) recognizes Zarah Brun (2nd from left) from the TUM start-up Social Bee and the TUM Boring team, which was successful in a worldwide tunnel boring competition, as TUM pioneers.Image: Andreas Heddergott / TUM