The 406th academic year of the University of Groningen was opened on the afternoon of Monday 2 September 2019 in the Martinikerk. The new Rector Magnificus Cisca Wijmenga led this festive ceremony for the first time; also the very first time a female rector was in the lead of the procession. The theme of the official opening was Data.
Most of the UG professors showed their support for investments in academic research and education and to emphasize the value of academic breadth and collaboration. The visible sign of this support was a a red fabric square, to cover the top of their beret.
After a welcome speech by Prof. Cisca Wijmenga there was a presentation of the Ubbo Emmius Medal to Dr. Michel Wedel, the presentation of the Alumnus of the Year Award to Christiaan Triebert and a mini-lecture by Spinoza price winner Prof. Amina Helmi.
Alumnus of the Year
The UG Alumnus of the Year 2018 title was awarded to Christaan Triebert. The 28-year-old visual investigations journalist at The New York Times (and before: Bellingcat) receives invitations from across the globe to explain how to discover the facts by using open sources. The academic basis for his career was laid at the UG, which is why Triebert has been selected as Alumnus of the Year.
The official anniversary, or Dies Natalis, of the UG is on 23 August. The first UG academic year began on this date in 1614. This means that this day is the official 405t ‘birthday’ of the UG. However, in 1614, Groningen still used the Julian calendar, which differs from the new Gregorian calendar – which was already used in many parts of Europe at this time – by 10 days. Thus, according to the current Gregorian calendar, the actual date on which the UG was founded was 2 September.