Ursula M. Staudinger was officially introduced to her position as rector of the Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden) with a festive ceremony on September 21, 2020. Due to current Corona regulations, the number of guests on site was limited. More than 920 viewers followed the event online via live stream.
The official inauguration took place in the presence of the Saxon Prime Minister, Michael Kretschmer, the Saxon State Minister for Science, Sebastian Gemkow, the Lord Mayor of Dresden, Dirk Hilbert, the rectors of friendly Saxon colleges and universities, the members of the university council, the guests of honor, the extended rectorate of the TU Dresden and the spectabilities of the Technical University of Dresden as well as the former magnificences Prof. Achim Mehlhorn and Prof. Hans Müller-Steinhagen.
“I’m happy about this day – and above all because it was such an incredibly convincing election,” said Saxon Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer to Ursula Staudinger. “This requires a great deal of common sense and a shared understanding of what is good for this university.” He wished her all the best and was looking forward to working with her. Due to her international experience, she was ideally suited to lead the university into the future.
“With today’s investiture, a woman will receive the insignia of the highest office of our university for the second time,” said Gunda Röstel, Chair of the University Council of the TU Dresden, in her greeting. The expectations are high, from securing lasting excellence to a nationally and internationally sought-after teaching institution and a university as an active part of society, she emphasized. As an experienced executive in the scientific community, Staudinger was not only trustworthy, she had already set important signals at the beginning of the course and would – together with the expanded rectorate – also reach new shores.
With humility and vigour
“With the insignia of the office of the rector of the Technical University of Dresden, I stand before you today in humility, but also with vigour, in the face of the task that was initially assigned to me by the Senate of the Technische Universität Dresden and then confirmed by the Minister of State”, said Staudinger in her speech. For her, the gown and the chain of office were less a sign of power than a sign of responsibility for the good and successful further development of the TU Dresden.
Staudinger thanked the former magnificences for their excellent work in the past: “Together with the members of the university, they have created an excellent starting point for successfully shaping the future of the TU Dresden.” As an “Excellence University” the TU Dresden is one of Germany’s leading universities and also globally among the top 200 of 1000 universities ranked worldwide.
Excellence requires continuity
“To achieve the excellence status of the TU Dresden again together and thus to secure the future development of our university, is the most important goal of my five-year term of office”, said Staudinger. A secured funding, therefore, was crucial for the university’s continued success. “Excellent research and teaching need continuity in order to maintain the level or even to develop it further. They cannot be turned up and down at will without loss of quality and productivity.”
“We live in a time that is characterized by challenges that can only be mastered globally,” said Staudinger. Therefore, another goal of the TU Dresden was to develop into a globally oriented and at the same time regionally anchored university of the 21st century. Interdisciplinarity at eye level, research-related teaching, but also opening up to new groups of learners as well as social engagement and a high level of attractiveness as an employer were important aspects.
Staudinger took over the official duties as rector on August 18 and presented the extended rectorate as well as her vision for the TU Dresden at a press conference the day before.