University College Freiburg (UCF) was officially founded and welcomed its first generation of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) students in autumn 2012. After an eventful and successful first year of establishing the College and filling it with people and meaning, a celebration was due. The award ceremony for the Erasmus Prize for the Liberal Arts and Sciences was scheduled for June 24th. This provided the perfect occasion for presenting UCF to a broader audience and celebrating our Inauguration.
Accordingly, the event had two parts, one at UCF in the Alte Universität, the other in the Meckel-Halle of the Sparkasse (the Freiburg Regional Savings Bank). During the afternoon, UCF students and staff presented the LAS study program in the form of an open "Market of Enquiry". Studying LAS is essentially about curiosity, and we invited about 150 guests from inside and outside the University of Freiburg (the university's Rectorate, partner institutions, supporters, parents, friends, lecturers, professors…) to inquire into the LAS program and join us on the four year journey through the many facets and stages of studying Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The evening part of the program was framed by two ceremonial elements. After welcomes by Prof. Schiewer, Rector of the University of Freiburg, and Mr. Thimm, CEO of the Sparkasse, the Erasmus Prize 2013 was awarded. Prof. Gehrke, UCF Director of Outreach, and the laureate himself outlined the prized Master Thesis that focuses on medieval, monastic book and knowledge culture.
In his keynote speech on "Wissen und Nichtwissen" ("Knowledge and Non-Knowledge"), Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, then gave insights into ways in which the sciences – but ultimately also the humanities – engage with the unknown: In effect, scientists should be especially aware of what they do not know and should be given the opportunity to explore the black holes of scientific (non-)knowledge. The address was followed by the Inauguration Ceremony and emphatic words of support by Rector Schiewer, by Prof. Adriaansens, founder of the first two UCs in the Netherlands, and by Mr. Fleig, UCF's founding Advisory Board Member. The subsequent get-together was, finally, so inspiring that many of the 200 guests stayed long past midnight.
Altogether, we had a wonderful afternoon and evening that were framed by academic questions and debates, that included distinguished ceremonies, but that did not neglect festive matters. For an overview of the Inauguration event, please see our invitation and program.