Thomas Wilhelmsson to continue as rector of the University of Helsinki

The Board of the University of Helsinki has, by common consent,selected the current rector,Thomas Wilhelmsson, to continue as rector of the university for the five-year period starting at the beginning of next year.

Thomas Wilhelmsson

Thomas Wilhelmsson (age 60) is a professor of civil and commercial law at the University of Helsinki. Before his current term as rector, which was shortened to one-and-a-half years due to the university reform that started in August, he was Vice Rector of the University for ten years.

Thomas Wilhelmsson will lead the largest and most diverse university in Finland. The strategic objective of the University of Helsinki is to become one of the world's leading multidisciplinary research universities.

The University of Helsinki has a total of 35,000 degree students. Adult education is annually attended by 60,000 adult students. The number of staff is 8,000, including employees working with both teaching and research duties, and experts in other areas. The budget of the university is about EUR 600 million. The university group, formed by the university and its subsidiaries, pursuant to the new Universities Act, has a total of about 10,000 employees, and its budget totals almost EUR 1 billion.

As a result of the Universities Act reform, the rector will have a stronger position and more financial responsibility. The new rector will no longer chair the board (previously known as the Great Senate), but will operate under the board just like a corporate CEO. The Rector must have the confidence of the board.

The rector position was applied for by five people, and the selection was made by the university's 13-member board. During the selection process, the Board also listened to the view of the 50-member Electoral College, which represents the academic community.

Text: Jorma Laakkonen
Picture: Veikko Somerpuro
30.9.2009
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