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University of Turku Celebrated Its 100th Anniversary with Two-Day Festivities


The University of Turku started its 100th Anniversary celebration with the UTU100 Carnival on Thursday, 27 February at the University Hill. The academic community and citizens gathered together to enjoy the evening which was topped off with a laser light show. The festivities continued on Friday, 28 February, with the Anniversary Celebration organised in the Logomo culture centre. The President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö gave an anniversary speech during the evening and was awarded with the Alum of the Year recognition.

Glimpses into History, Led Balls and Laser Light Show

The UTU100 Carnival of the University of Turku started at the square between the Old Academy Building and Turku Cathedral where the chair of the steering group for the anniversary year, Riitta Pyykkö, opened the event.

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100-vuotissyntymäpäivien soihtukulkue (3)

In his anniversary speech, Rector Jukka Kola described how the lights symbolise e.g. increasing knowledge as well as perseverance with which researchers search for new information.

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— The University of Turku is the best university in Finland because we have a united student community. The atmosphere here tonight is warm and communal, says student of Biochemistry Jaakko Räkköläinen.

Golden anniversary chocolate coins, hot chocolate, and unique anniversary overall patches were given out at the University Hill. Videos and photos from different decades were projected on the walls of the surrounding buildings.

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One of the highlights of the event was the student ambassadors throwing big colour-changing led balls into the crowd while Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday to Ya was playing. The evening was topped off with a laser light show.

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— It is great to be able to honour the University’s long history here, Sauli Seittenranta summarised the evening.

Anniversary Celebration Brought Together 800 Participants

The Anniversary Celebration of the University of Turku i.e. the founding anniversary of the University has traditionally been celebrated on the Kalevala Day on 28 February. This year, the Anniversary Celebration was organised in the Logomo culture centre in Turku with altogether 800 participants.

– Universities’ strength lies in a thousand-year tradition and they have an important responsibility to promote research and higher education. The universities’ two basic missions, research and education, are the source of genuine and extensive societal interaction and impact. Our job is to secure and strengthen learning, both nationally and internationally. This lasting mission carries us through centuries, said Rector Jukka Kola in his opening speech.

Jukka Kola vuosijuhlassa

President Niinistö Highlighted the Importance of Scientific Knowledge

In his speech, the President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö highlighted the importance of scientific knowledge in our rapidly changing society. According to President Niinistö, scientific knowledge and science are counterforces for confusion and uncertainty, and the significance of knowledge should be highlighted publicly.

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The Alum of the Year recognition was awarded to President of Finland Sauli Niinistö at the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the University of Turku. With the Alum of the Year recognition, the University of Turku wishes to thank President of Finland Sauli Niinistö for his work that has promoted the importance of knowledge, research and education in the 21st Century Finland.

– Building the future is long-term work that needs to have a clear direction. The hectic modern era produces a great deal of instant and colourful information that quickly becomes yesterday’s news. The problem is in receiving the information – how does the stable message of science and research survive in this competitive environment. However, I believe that future solutions will still be based on research and critically reviewed information, says President Niinistö.

Anniversary Cantata and Congratulations to the University

The Anniversary Celebration included an anniversary cantata ‘Syvyyden yllä tuuli’ composed by Mikko Heiniö, our former Professor of Musicology, and performed by the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra and Turku University Choir.

Orkesteri vuosijuhlassa

Earlier during the day, Rector Jukka Kola and Chair of the Board Ritva Viljanen were receiving congratulations to the University at the Academy Building. Altogether 38 stakeholder groups remembered the 100-year-old University with congratulations and donations.

Share Your Memories and Congratulate the University

You can congratulate the University of Turku on its 100th anniversary by participating in the #uniturku100challenge in social media between 27 February and 2 May 2020. The goal of the challenge is to inspire people to share altogether 22,040 congratulations, memories, and stories. More information: https://www.utu.fi/en/100/challenge

The University of Turku, the first Finnish-language university in the world, was founded 100 years ago with donations from the Finnish people. Today, we proactively foster both well-being and a sustainable future. By donating to the University of Turku, you contribute to this work. https://www.utu.fi/en/university/donate

Created 02.03.2020 | Updated 02.03.2020