The University of Helsinki celebrates its 367th anniversary

The University of Helsinki celebrates its 367th anniversary today, 26 March.

The official ceremonies began at noon with the awarding of badges of merit. The programme continued with the University of Helsinki Funds’ reception at the Helsinki University Museum Arppeanum.

The Funds awarded grants, scholarships and prizes worth over one million euro this year. For example, the Research Foundation of the University of Helsinki awarded grants of 15,000 euro on average to 43 promising young researchers.

In his speech at the main ceremony, held in the afternoon, Rector Ilkka Niiniluoto called for increasing public resources to be allocated to research funding and universities to meet the level recommended by the Science and Technology Policy Council of Finland.

“International and national competition is becoming stiffer by the minute, and many institutions would like to hold the pole position for the race. While it has been suggested that "world-class universities” be built in Finland as “spearheading” projects for structural development, it has been overlooked that, strictly speaking, the only world-class university in Finland is the University of Helsinki,” said Rector Niiniluoto.

This year’s J.V. Snellman Award for Public Information was presented to Kari Enqvist, Professor of Cosmology, who is one of the best-known Finnish (popular interpreters of the scientific worldview. The Eino Kaila Awards for teaching merits was presented to the team of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, including Professor Outi Vainio, University Lecturer Marja Raekallio and Assistant Jussi Honkavaara. The awards are 5,000 euro each.

The University of Helsinki was established in 1640 under the patronage of Queen Kristina of Sweden. First, the university was known as the Royal Academy of Turku. In 1828, the University moved to Helsinki, after the centre of Turku was almost completely destroyed by fire on 4 September 1827. The University was then known as the Imperial Alexander University. The name University of Helsinki was adopted in 1917 after Finland had gained its independence.

Currently the University of Helsinki has some 38,000 degree students.

Text and photo: Mikko Arvinen
26.3.2007
www.helsinki.fi/digitalcommunications

Translation: Valtasana Oy


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