On Saturday June 8th, 2013 around 1,200 guests joined the 50th anniversary celebration of the Faculty for Economics & Law on campus on the Tiefenbronner Straße. The day began with an academic ceremony in the packed auditorium, where the founding dean and professor for economics, Dr. Rudi Kurz offered an entertaining retrospect on the last 50 years.
“At the Pforzheim University education, research, work and studies all take place on high level. The nationally and internationally renowned Faculty of Economics & Law can be proud of all that has been established and accomplished in the past 50 years.”, said the Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg Winfried Kretschmann and congratulated the Faculty of Economics & Law for its anniversary. He emphasized the state’s deep appreciation for the high quality in education and research: “Both students and businesses in Baden-Württemberg benefit from it alike.”
Prior to that Christoph Kübel, graduate of the faculty and Managing Director at Robert Bosch GmbH, phrased the requirements of the industry on the higher education: “Universities must not only execute curriculums, but convey the motivation for lifelong learning to students.”, he said. Mr. Kübel pointed out that for companies, the willingness of their employees to keep learning is a key factor in securing the future, and added: “I am convinced that the Pforzheim University will continue to address these challenges and will maintain to provide students with technical expertise, high commitment and innovative capabilities, which prepare them for their professional life in the best possible way.”
After some words by the Mayor of Pforzheim Gert Hager and the President of the IHK Nordschwarzwald, the District Administrator of the Enz district Karl Röckinger, gave the faculty the Steinbeis-Medal. Then it was time for gifts, as they are a vital part of any birthday party: Prof. Dr. Martin Weiblen and Stefan Gamber, board members of the initiative Förderer- und Absolventenverein (FAV), presented the prospect of a new center for student work groups in FAV’s own building. The chairwoman Marina Schwarz and the chairman Sebastian Findeisen of the general student committee ASTA donated a bench for the campus. The Dean of the faculty Prof. Dr. Ulrich Jautz promised to complement this gift and provide more benches for the campus. In his outlook for the future Prof. Dr. Jautz showed how the faculty will deal with upcoming challenges – may it be declining numbers of applicants due to the demographic change, or the increasing national and international competition in the education sector.
In the coming years the establishment of a permanent culture of quality, which will focus on the continuous improvement of education, will play a significant role. This requirement is already necessary in 2016 for the reaccreditation through AACSB. A seal of quality that the faculty has been bearing since 2011. New and revised study programs and the accelerated internationalization of the university are set to be securing its top position in the future. Currently around half the students complete a semester abroad and this ratio is expected to rise significantly. Last but not least by expanding the research activities the profile will be further strengthened. Both the excellent cooperation with the regional industry and the unique feature of the international accreditation will ensure the faculty’s continued success in the years to come.
The outlook into the future was followed by a special retrospect: The faculty honored the founding chancellor of the university, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Rupert Huth. For 26 years the bearer of the Federal Cross of Merit has steered the success of the university. “We stand on the shoulders of giants”, Jautz quoted the parable from the 12th century, to honor the contributions of the retired chancellor. As a special memory Rupert Huth was presented a massive block of glass featuring a three-dimensional laser engraving, which featured a personal dedication from the faculty. In the afternoon, further honors for outstanding commitment were bestowed upon Professors Dr. Rudi Kurz, Dr. Karl-Heinz Rau, Dieter Pflaum und Dr. Helmut Wienert.
After a short lunch break Prof. Dr. Helmut Wienert offered an overview of the history of the faculty as well as the history of the German Universities of Applied Sciences. On the occasion of the ceremony Dr. Wienert ‘s research was published in a history work volume.
As a special surprise, Prof. Dr. Elke Theobald’s organizational team of five had invited special contemporary witnesses: 11 graduates from the class of 1963, which was the first cohort ever and included around 70 students, came onto the stage. Couples that had come to know and love each other during their studies were also invited – remarkable, considering there were only two to three female students in the first few cohorts. “But they were real superwomen”, reminisces Wriedt Wetzel, who led one of the two female students of his class of 1966 to the alter three years after graduation.
Petrus was an alumnus
The sunny afternoon belonged to the citizens of Pforzheim and the alumnis of the faculty. Drinks and snacks were offered and alumni, who hadn’t seen each other for years mingled to the sounds of the Mystery Hot Club Quintet on campus.
The future high school graduates of 2026 were also kept in mind: A bouncy castle, face painting and a balloon competition were waiting for the young guests.
As befits an anniversary of an academic institution, the program was not only limited to celebrating: 50 lectures of the professors, called “tower topics”, lured the audience into the auditoriums in large numbers. In periods of 45 minutes a wide range of topics was covered in the lectures: From the usefulness of minimum wages to the proper queuing in line at the supermarket. An anniversary exhibition In the foyer of building W1 led through the history of the faculty all the way until today.
At about 7pm a very successful day came to an end. Thanks to the meticulous scientific research into the past of the faculty by Prof. Dr. Wienert, which will probably be his last big publications before his retirement at the end of the semester, the planning committee for the 75th anniversary has a solid foundation.