The University of Zurich is celebrating its 188th anniversary digitally for the second year running. This doesn’t mean the celebrations, moderated by philosopher Barbara Bleisch, will be any less festive. In fact, they will be more interactive than ever before. The event marking the founding of the University of Zurich will examine where UZH currently stands in these extraordinary pandemic times and shine a light on some of the remarkable joint achievements of its members.
From April 24, guests invited to attend the 2021 Dies academicus can access an online platform that will enable them to follow the day’s proceedings in full or select individual items on the program. They can sign the digital guest book and interact with others attending the online event. The platform also features further information on award recipients, the involved institutions and the University of Zurich in general.
Digital surge in teaching
Speaking at the online event, UZH President Michael Schaepman said that despite the pandemic, UZH members achieved many remarkable things over the past 12 months. For example, a research team succeeded in identifying a series of promising drugs to treat Covid-19. There were also several noteworthy studies at UZH, including a paper on the influence of remote working on the professional world. And university teaching experienced a digital surge, with 4,500 courses held online and some 40,000 online assessments carried out in the Spring Semester alone. “Going forward we now have to make sure these hastily introduced emergency measures give rise to more advanced forms of hybrid teaching and learning,” said Michael Schaepman. “We want to hold on to targeted online teaching elements that complement face-to-face teaching even after the pandemic is over.”
Seven honorary doctorates at UZH
The faculties at UZH awarded the following honorary doctorates to representatives from science, culture and industry:
- The Faculty of Theology honored the musician and conductor Rudolf Lutz for his long-standing accomplishments in the field of teaching sacred music in Switzerland and abroad, especially for the performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s entire vocal oeuvre.
- The Faculty of Law awarded the honorary title to Jürg Schmid for his lifetime’s work. The notary has made important advances in real estate property law, land register law, notarial law and bankruptcy law.
- The Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics honored Prof. Dr. Bruno Robert Jacques Biais, professor of finance at HEC Paris, for his significant research in finance, contract theory, political and experimental economics and blockchain.
- The Faculty of Medicine presented the title to Prof. Dr. Thomas G. Flohr in recognition of his achievements in modern CT technology. His numerous technological innovations have led to high-quality imaging and greatly improved patient care.
- The Vetsuisse Faculty honored Prof. Dr. Lothar H. Wieler from the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina for his work on zoonotic diseases and his commitment to promoting the One Health approach.
- The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences awarded an honorary doctorate to Prof. Dr. Anil Bhatti for his lifetime’s work. As member of the Goethe Society, he has committed himself to promoting modern German and comparative literature and cultural studies as well as cultural diversity.
- The Faculty of Science honored ornithologist Werner Müller, long-standing managing director at BirdLife Switzerland, for his lifetime’s work and his unwavering commitment to conservation biology, biodiversity and natural habitats as well as his dialogue with policy-makers.
Teaching award for Japanese instructor
This year’s teaching award went to Guido Gefter, instructor for Japanese at the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies. His students value his inspired teaching, his enthusiasm as well as his supportive nature and sense of humor. Moreover, he offers additional opportunities for interaction, where students can apply what they have learned in self-study.
Award for team effort
During the pandemic, the task force of the Staatsverein carried out outstanding work. For their remarkable achievements, they were awarded the University of Zurich’s team effort award. The task force placed more than 800 medical students in clinics and departments of the UniversityHospital Zurich and other hospitals. Since March 2020, these students have logged tens of thousands of hours caring for patients – playing an important part in easing the burden on healthcare staff.
Awards for the best PhD theses
This year’s annual faculty awards went to: Nina Rageth (Faculty of Theology), Aurelia Gurt (Faculty of Law), Zichao Zhang (Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics), Dr. med. Michael Reinehr (Faculty of Medicine), Dr. med vet. Bernd Coester (Vetsuisse Faculty), Dr. David Paul Gerards (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences) and Ufuk Karakus (Faculty of Science).
Alumni award for professor of radiology
Prof. em. Dr. med. Urs Martin Lütolf, former director of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the UniversityHospital Zurich, received the Alumni Award 2021 for his commitment to the Faculty of Medicine’s alumni organization and fostering an overarching alumni culture.
Science awards and research grants
The Walter and Gertrud Siegenthaler Foundation of the University of Zurich gave out its Science Award 2021 to Dr. med. Stefano Luigi Barco, PhD and physician at the Clinic for Angiology at the UniversityHospital Zurich, in recognition of his research in epidemiology and venous thromboembolism and its long-term complications.
The 2021 research grants went to pediatrician Dr. med. Dr. sc. nat. Andrea A. Mauracher from the University Children’s Hospital Zurich.