University - freedom, tolerance and respect for otherness
Students, lecturers, the UO Senate, representatives of the world of business, local government, culture and the media took part in the grand inauguration of the new academic year 2021/2022, which took place on 5 October 2021 in the Hall of the Faculty of Theology. The academic ceremony was successfully reconciled with the requirements of the sanitary regime enforced by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Among those who turned up were: Bishop of Opole, Rev. Prof. Andrzej Czaja - Grand Chancellor of the Faculty of Theology at the UO, Zuzanna Donat-Kasiura - Deputy Marshal of the Opole Voivodeship, Arkadiusz Wiśniewski - Mayor of Opole, Henryk Wujec - Deputy Mayor of Opole. Also in attendance were the rectors of friendly universities, including Prof. Marcin Lorenz - rector of the Opole University of Technology, Prof. Marian Duczmal - rector of the Opole Academy of Management and Administration, Prof. Przemysław Malinowski - rector of the State Higher Vocational School in Nysa, as well as guests from universities in neighbouring academic cities. The Council of the University of Opole, with its chairman Andrzej Drosik, were also present. Representatives of educational and cultural institutions, business, medicine, the arts and the uniformed services were also among those present.
The guests were welcomed by Prof. Marek Masnyk, who addressed the University staff and students with particularly warm words. “This is your day, your holiday!” - emphasized the Rector.
In the traditional Rector's speech, delivered during the inauguration, Rector Masnyk reviewed the last year of the university's activity, reaching, however, also to the distant past. He briefly recalled the most important events of the recent years at the university, such as the creation of a new field of study and then the Faculty of Medicine, development of the Pomology project, change of the university management model, participation of our university in the FORTHEM alliance of European Universities, systematic improvement of the position of the University of Opole in rankings of higher education institutions and promotion of Uni Opole volleyball players to the top division of the Tauron League. He spoke about the successes of scientists, students, student organisations, and he mentioned the rescue operation of Afghans connected with our university from the Taliban-controlled Kabul, etc. A moment of silence was also observed to commemorate the staff members and students of the UO who died in the past year.
Let us hope for normality, let us take advantage of vaccinations
“We are inaugurating another academic year full of hope and faith that we will manage to finish it without undertaking further extraordinary organisational solutions,” - said Rector Masnyk. “I have faith because I believe that you are mature enough to take advantage of the only scientifically proven method of protecting yourselves from the consequences of the pandemic - a general vaccination campaign. This is a university, a temple of knowledge and science, so you must rationally draw on what is scientifically proven. We, on our part, assure you that the university is a place of freedom, tolerance and respect for otherness, right to choose and experiment. As a university community, we must remain true to the founding values of the university - respect, exploration and proclamation of truth. It is our duty to describe the world and the laws that govern it in terms of the truth, not anyone's expectations - regardless of the price paid for proclaiming that truth. Only in this way can we fully define ourselves as a European university - a university open to the world, free of xenophobia, accepting diversity, full of respect for the dignity of every human being, a university of wise and courageous young people. You determine what our country, Europe and the world will be like in 10, 20 or more years.
May your dreams come true!
Concluding his speech, prof. Masnyk said: “On the day of the inauguration ceremony, I wish you optimism and hope that studying at the University of Opole will be a good time for you. Today you are beginning one of the most beautiful and important periods in your lives.
May your dreams come true and pursue your passions in life. I wish all the members of our academic community good health and prosperity in their personal and professional lives. Gaudeamus igitur - so let us rejoice, for this is a day full of joy.”
Beacon of integrity, education and decency
Prof. Jacek Lipok, Vice-Rector for Research, read out congratulatory letters and addresses received by the UO authorities on the occasion of the inauguration of the new academic year. They came, among others, from the office of the President of the Republic of Poland, from the Speaker of the Polish Sejm Elżbieta Witek, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, and from the rectors of partner universities. Deputy Voivode Teresa Barańska read out a letter from Minister of Science Przemysław Czarnek.
In her speech to the academic community, Vice Marshall Zuzanna Donat-Kasiura emphasized that, inter alia, it was up to the present and future students of the University of Opole whether the newly adopted Opole Voivodeship Strategy 2030 would be implemented. She mentioned the importance of mutual acceptance and love of one's neighbour. “ If we love and accept ourselves, we will also accept and support others,” - she pointed out. “I wish everyone real openness, enthusiasm, strength and faith that our region and we ourselves are unique, and that we can enrich each other with this uniqueness and hard work.”
The Mayor of Opole, Arkadiusz Wiśniewski, said among other things: ”I am very pleased with the beginning of the academic year in a regular form because it means that students will again fill the streets of Opole. I would also like to bow deeply and thank the university for its action to help Afghans evacuated from Kabul. It was a unique show of heart for your fellow human being - something that is becoming scarcer and scarcer. You are a beacon of integrity, education and decency!”
“I salute and congratulate you for your beautiful and comprehensive development, but also for the fact that the university community is so strongly committed to what we call pro publico bono activity," said Bishop Andrzej Czaja. “Thank you also for your openness and comprehensive education. Thank you also for your openness and comprehensive education.
Your reaching out to people in need is a powerful sign, and your support for the brothers from Afghanistan is a very concrete contribution to building the civilisation of life and love. Cherish and uphold universal values. Build a civilisation of reason and faith! With all my heart, I wish you the normal functioning that has been taken away from us by the pandemic. I wish us all to be able to meet each other in a normal way and build direct emotional and intellectual relationships! God bless you for shaping academic reality in this way.“
Oath taking ceremony
An important part of the inauguration ceremony was the matriculation of students, conducted by Professor Izabella Pisarek, Vice-Rector for Academic and Student Affairs. Representatives of all faculties took the oath on behalf of 3730 new students of the University of Opole.
The newly admitted students were addressed by Żaneta Niemczyk, president of the OU Students' Union. She said that studying was the best time in a young person's life, when they were learning about themselves, building their character and gaining broad experience.
The inaugural lecture "Quo vadis democracy? What we know about democracy and what we expect from democracy.” was given by Prof. Lech Rubisz,
The academic choir Dramma per Musica provided the musical setting for the ceremony.