The academic year 2019–2020 of the University of Turku started officially on 3 September with the Opening Ceremony at Medisiina D and the Opening Carnival at the square in front of Educarium and Publicum.
In his opening speech at the Ceremony, Rector Jukka Kola emphasised universities’ significance in meeting and solving global problems and change.
– In these times, the significance of universities is even more topical and important than before. However, we also have to be able to concentrate in our core missions, research and education, so that we can better meet the needs directed at us.
Rector Kola stated that the realisation of the extra funding to higher education promised in the government programme is vital not only to universities but also to the success of the entire nation. Universities’ resources have to be ensured so that they can uphold Finland's well-being and competitiveness.
– The young people we educate will become experts in different fields and understand large entities and diverse correlations. Many of them will also become top researchers. They have the will and desire to solve global problems.
– It is positively a luxury that each year our community is renewed by a couple of thousand new members. Very few organisations have this kind of a benefit. In our community, the new students offer significant potential – and encouragement – right from the start, said Rector Kola.
Professor Kalervo Väänänen, whose term as the Rector ended in July, was awarded the commemorative founding medal of the University of Turku. The justifications for the recognition state that Professor Väänänen has worked actively to advance the University’s intellectual goals and material wealth.
Mr Väänänen started his term as the Rector in 2012. He was appointed as the Professor of Cell Biology of the University of Turku in 1998. He has also worked as the Director of the Institute of Biomedicine and in several other positions of expertise and trust.
The Turku Finnish University Society gave awards to three distinguished dissertations approved at the University of Turku during the previous academic year:
- PhD Prince Dadson: The effects of bariatric surgery on adipose tissue energy metabolism in type 2 diabetes (clinical physiology and nuclear medicine)
- PhD Lauri Nikkanen: Dynamic Regulation of Photosynthesis by Chloroplast Thioredoxin Systems (bio sciences, molecular plant biology)
- D.Sc. (Econ.) Milla Wiren: Strategizing in the new normal. Implications of digitalization for strategizing and uncertainty: Philosophical and Managerial Considerations (international business)
The awards were handed out by the Chair of the Turku Finnish University Society Board Risto Lammintausta.
In addition, the commemorative medal of the University was awarded to professors Erkki Eerola, Osmo Kivinen, Joel Kivirauma, Seppo Koskinen, Markku Koulu, Satu Lähteenmäki, Timo Myllyntaus, Mikko Nikinmaa, Leo Nyqvist, Lea Rojola, Esa Stenberg, Krister Sundblad and Stina Syrjänen.
Teacher, Course and Language Deed of the Year Announced at Opening Carnival
The Opening Carnival started with music and welcome speeches from Rector Jukka Kola and Chair of Board of the Student Union Sini Saarinen. In addition, recognitions were awarded to members of the University community. New students had a chance to meet different student organisations, and explore different activities and services available on campus.
University Teachers Jussi-Pekka Järvinen and Aleksi Lahti from digital learning at the Faculty of Education received the Teacher of the Year award. The justifications state that Lahti and Järvinen are excellent teachers who work in close collaboration and mutual understanding. They inspire and motivate students. They have created a flexible and supportive module in digital learning which takes into consideration the individual needs of each student.
The Course of the Year was professional skills I in musicology and Professor of Musicology John Richardson accepted the award.
The course offers looks into work and practices in the music industry with examples of record companies as well as different actors, management and organisations in the field of music. The course also handles research of live music industry. The course includes lectures, reading materials, visiting experts from the music industry, and excursions.
The Language Deed of the Year was awarded to Vastalääke, an association founded by students of the Faculty of Medicine.
The purpose of the association is to popularise medicine and health sciences. Health topics are of interest to everyone but outside the discipline it can sometimes be hard to separate facts from fiction. The starting point for founding the association was a concern over the spread of incorrect and unclear health claims in media and particularly in the social media. Chair of the association Tatu Han accepted the award.
Text: Tuomas Koivula
Photos: Hanna Oksanen
Translation: Mari Ratia