Gala Opening of the New Academic Year

Oct. 19, 2018

The main event at the opening of the 24th academic year took place on Thursday, 18 October at the Lanthieri Mansion in Vipava.

The rector of the University of Nova Gorica, Prof. Dr. Danilo Zavrtanik first greeted the guests: “When we charted the path of this university, we knew that it has to be a research institution that is internationally oriented and also of the highest quality. I am confident to say that as far as science goes, we have reached this goal. The university has been achieving top scientific results, it has excellent and internationally recognized researchers and, according to the European Commission estimates, it belongs to the very peak of European universities,” Prof. Dr. Zavrtanik said in his introductory speech. “As far as the pedagogical work is concerned, we still have quite some work to do to achieve excellence. Our plan and goal is that we reach the level of excellency in terms of pedagogical work that can match the pedagogical excellency of other high quality universities, but mostly, we want to put the student at the center of the pedagogical process, so he/she can become an active part of the pedagogical process. I am convinced that we as a whole can do this and that we will reach this point in the future,” Prof. Dr. Zavrtanik concluded his speech.

Today, the pedagogical activities of the university are spread around seven different Schools. Up until today, the University of Nova Gorica has produced 213 PhDs, 375 Master’s degree graduates and 864 Bachelor’s degree graduates. The research activities take place in six centers and four laboratories. The number of foreign students is increasing every year and this year the percentage of foreign students is as high as 50% of the entire student population. They come from 51 different countries, from Europe and from other continents.

We were also honored by the presence of the Minister for Education, Science and Sports, Dr. Jernej Pikalo. In his speech, he pointed out that the University of Nova Gorica offers a good example of a school where excellent results can be achieved with relatively low funds. “The University of Nova Gorica is a typical example of how it is possible to create something big out of something small, or rather how to create something very significant out of something rather small,” Dr. Pikalo concluded his talking about the work of the university.

This year, the University of Nova Gorica collaborated in two incredible scientific discoveries. Dr. Gabrijela Zaharijaš is a member of the international group called FermiLAT; they have proven that supermassive black holes can produce high energy neutrinos. Another research was done together with the astronomers from the Caltech (the California Institute of Technology) and Dr. Tanja Petrushevska was a part of that research team. They found out an extraordinary and unusual explosion of the supernova which created a system of two neutron stars. Both articles were published in the most prestigious international magazine Science.

The guest of honor and also a speaker at the gala opening of the academic year, the President of the Slovenian Academy of Engineering, Dr. Mark Pleško, expressed his compliments and his praise for all the employed at the UNG and for them making the university what it is today. “When Slovenia was just being born, we jokingly remarked on why we would need to go to the Silicon Valley at all as we have our own Vipava Valley right here. We can built 200 houses so that foreign experts can come, we establish a university and we will be almost like Stanford University. That was a joke back then, but the University of Nova Gorica has shown that it has reached just that, with a lot of work, a lot of effort, a lot of networking and an incredible energy,” Dr. Pleško said. He wished the students and all those present not easy but difficult and interesting lectures, full of challenges, as that is what fulfils a person and makes one learn the most.

At the ceremony, the Rector of the University of Nova Gorica, Prof. Dr. Danilo Zavrtanik, presented different awards, namely, the doctor honoris causa of the University of Nova Gorica, the title of professor emeritus of the University of Nova Gorica and the honorary member of the University of Nova Gorica.

At its session on 17 May 2018, the Senate of the University of Nova Gorica made the decision to award the title of an honorary doctor of the University of Nova Gorica – doctor honoris causa – to profesor Rajko Grlić for his outstanding achievements in the field of film and the enrichment of the world treasury of art.

At its session on 4 July 2018, the Senate of the University of Nova Gorica reached the decision to award the title of professor emeritus of the University of Nova Gorica to Prof. Dr. Jukka Jokilehto for his important contribution to the international reputation and development of the University of Nova Gorica and the exemplary performance of pedagogical and mentoring work.

At its session on 10 May 2017, the Senate of the University of Nova Gorica decided to grant Assist. Prof. Dr. Julij Nemanič the honorary member of the University of Nova Gorica award for his incredible contribution to the development of pedagogic and scientific activities in the field of Enology at the University of Nova Gorica.

We also awarded twelve male and female students. The alumnus primus award was given to those graduates who graduated first in their generation: Eva Battistel, Peter Ferfoglia, Tanja Batkovič and Taja Košir Popovič. Another award, alumnus optimus, was given to those who achieved the highest grade point average in each year of their studies: Peter Ferfoglia, Jure Krečič, Teja Cankar, Neža Orel, Tjaša Petrič, Luka Novinec, eva Kumelj, Helene Thümmel and Vanesa Klinec.

Congratulations to all awardess!

Andreja Leban, Public Relations

Attachments

A Gala Opening at the Start of the New Academic Year. Photo: Miha Godec
Prof. Dr. Danilo Zavrtanik, Rector of the University of Nova Gorica. Photo: Miha Godec
Dr. Jernej Pikalo, Minister for Education, Science and Sports. Photo: Miha Godec
Dr. Mark Pleško, President of the Slovenian Academy of Engineering. Photo: Miha Godec
Honorary doctor of the University of Nova Gorica – doctor honoris causa – profesor Rajko Grlić. Photo: Miha Godec
Professor emeritus of the University of Nova Gorica, Prof. Dr. Jukka Jokilehto. Photo: Miha Godec
Honorary member of the University of Nova Gorica, Assist. Prof. Dr. Julij Nemanič. Photo: Miha Godec
Awardees, Administration of the University of Nova Gorica, Minister for Education, Science and Sports Dr. Jernej Pikalo and President of the Slovenian Academy of Engineering Dr. Mark Pleško. Photo: Miha Godec