Prague – In the coming academic year, the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague, will celebrate 70 years of its independent existence. This leading technological university has organized several events for the occasion, the two most important of which will take place on 23 September 2022. That morning, at Strahov Monastery, the university’s management will first award three honorary doctorates and two Emil Votoček medals to prominent scientific figures. That afternoon, in Dejvice, the KampusFest cultural festival will take place. In addition to contemporary music productions, KampusFest will feature performances by student groups, including the university orchestra and choir. For the public at large, tours of the university and two large chemistry shows are also in the works. At the same time, a new publication, Focused on Chemistry, dedicated to the history of UCT Prague, will be presented.
“70 years of a person’s life is a relatively long time, but in the existence of a university, it is quite a short timeframe, especially if we look back upon European university education traditions. Remembering the past is necessary in order to understand the foundations on which we are building our future today, to use all the good experiences and try to avoid past mistakes,” says Pavel Matějka, UCT Prague’s Rector. “Celebrations of significant anniversaries also present suitable opportunities for honouring influential personalities. Our three honorary doctorates and two Emil Votoček Medal awardees are outstanding Czech and European research figures who have contributed to improving UCT Prague’s reputation and with whom we will continue to cooperate. We therefore want empower them to continue developing the European research area,” Rector Matějka adds.
At the ceremony at Strahov Monastery, leading Czech and European science personalities will receive honorary doctorates, which the University has long awarded only in exceptional cases. The title of doctor honoris causa will be awarded by UCT Prague’s Rector to Professor Eva Zažímalová, President of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (CAS); Professor Peter H. Seeberger, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Phase Interfaces; and Dr Zdeněk Hostomský, long-time Director of the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS and currently Director of the National Institute of Virology and Bacteriology.
"I highly value the honorary doctorate from UCT Prague. The University is a leader in its field and has, since its inception, been “forging the path” for new methods, approaches, and fostering fundamental discoveries. And very important is that it is—and always has been—open to cross-institutional and interdisciplinary cooperation,” says Professor Eva Zažímalová.
“Undoubtedly, the chemical fields constitute Czech scientific export goods, and with them, we achieve world-class results in the long term. And without over exaggerating, we can also certainly say that one of the epicentres of Czech chemistry is the Dejvice campus, where UCT Prague and the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (IOCB) are almost directly adjacent. The two institutions have numerous and close ties. It was a great honour to have led IOCB over the past 10 years and to help foster mutual cooperation, not only in the field of education and research, but also socially within the local academic community. And it is a great honour to receive an honorary UCT Prague doctorate,” says Dr. Zdeněk Hostomský.
The Emil Votoček Medal is awarded by UCT Prague’s Rector to outstanding personalities who, through their professional or public activities, have contributed to the development of chemistry and other fields taught at the University or to the development of cooperation in the areas of education and R&D. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the University’s independent existence, Professors Aleš Procházka and Martin Hof will receive these medals.
The next chapter of the celebration, the KampusFest cultural festival for the academic community, graduates, and the public at large, will start at 2:30pm in front of UCT Prague’s buildings. Visitors can look forward to three music bands and a diverse program produced by student clubs, including dance, choral singing, orchestral music, visual arts, and tours around the unique University premises.
Program of Dejvice Campus celebrations on 23 September:
|3pm||DIvadlo (v)Ochotných Chemiků (“Theater of Ready and Willing Chemists”)|
|3:20pm||Performance by the UCT Prague Dance Association|
|3:45pm||UCT Prague Choir|
|4:30pm||UCT Prague Orchestra|
|5pm||Rector’s ceremonial speech and second launch of the Focused on Chemistry book|
|5:05pm||Chemisty show II|
|6:15pm||I Love You Honey Bunny (music band)|
|7:45pm||Paulie Garand LIVE BAND (music band)|
|9:15pm||Bitman (music band)|
Tours of UCT Prague start at 3:30pm, 4pm, 4:30pm, 5pm, 5:30pm, 6pm, 6:30pm, and 7pm.
A ceremonial launch of the new Focused on Chemistry publication will also take place at the National Library of Technology. The publication summarizes the history of UCT Prague and its direct institutional predecessors—from the first concerns about technology university education and research in the field of chemistry and related disciplines, including the gradual evolution of curricula, the school premises, and the equipment at the various buildings at a number of locations—up to the changes of the University’s legal status and the key historical moments of the University as an independent institution. The authors of the book are UCT Prague’s Věra Dvořáčková and the National Technical Museum Prague’s Ivana Lorencová.
As part of the 70-year anniversary celebrations, the University is also preparing a scientific conference in the autumn, which will present the current research challenges for and achievements by UCT Prague scientists and researchers. The symbolic end of the celebrations will be an Advent Concert in the Bethlehem Chapel.
The history of the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague, goes back to the earliest beginnings of the teaching of chemistry in the Czech lands. At the beginning of 1803, Holy Roman Emperor Francis II signed the founding documents for Prague Polytechnic (called the Royal Professional Technical College), at which, after a period of preparation, classes in two departments, mathematics and chemistry, were ceremoniously started on 10 November 1806. UCT Prague is the direct successor of Prague Polytechnic’s chemistry department. During the reorganization of the Prague Polytechnic in 1920, UCT Prague emerged from its chemistry department as one of the seven universities within Czech Technical University in Prague. On 21 June 1925, in the presence of President T. G. Masaryk, the foundation stone was laid for the construction of the first building of the intended complex for CTU in Prague’s buildings in Dejvice, which was to harmonize architecturally with this modern and aesthetically impressive district of Prague. The first building was intended for UCT Prague and serves as the University’s main building to this day. Teaching started in this building in 1933. Construction of other buildings was plagued by financial problems. In 1937, the second building was completed. In 1952, UCT Prague was separated from the CTU in Prague and divided into several faculties. The University initially had three faculties.