On January 10, 2014, TU Delft will celebrate its 172nd birthday with the traditional Dies Natalis ceremony.
Held at the Aula, the ceremony is open to students on prior registration, and is among the most important annual events on the university’s calendar.
“This is a major event at all (Dutch) universities and is the time to bestow honorary doctorates on important scientists or public figures. It’s as important an event as the start of the Academic Year,” explains Roy Meijer, press officer, TU Delft.
The ceremony has a theme every year. The last few years have seen themes related to the topics of the Delft Research-based Institutes (DRI’s). Former topics have included health and transport - topics key to the institute. Every five years the university also celebrates a Lustrum. “In 2012, TU celebrated its 34th Lustrum. Festivities took place during the whole year, with connecting the theme being ‘Water’, not just a major DRI topic, but one crucial to TU Delft as a whole,” says Meijer.
The theme for this year is Safety. “2014 marks the official start of the TU Delft Safety & Security Institute which is why special attention is given to this theme,” explains Meijer.
Throwing light on the topic, the online invitation to the ceremony adds: ‘New high-tech industry brings new prosperity, but also carries new risks. What if biotech turns biohazard or robotics run amok? Is our safety just an illusion, or can technology offer us solutions?’
Professor Karel Luyben, the Rector Magnificus, will speak on a ‘A safe and secure university’, which will be followed by the foundation day lecture. Professor Pieter van Gelder, professor of Safety Science at the faculty of TPM, will also speak on the subject.
Honorary Doctorates will be given to Professor Dirk Helbing, professor of Sociology, in particular of Modeling and Simulation, ETH Zürich, Switzerland and Deborah Hersman, M.S., Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Washington, USA. Dirk Jan van den Berg, the President of the Executive Board, will speak on Future prospects as well.
There’s a musical interlude between proceedings, which, Meijer says, “is usually a classical performance.”
In keeping with the internationalisation of the university, the Dies Natalis ceremony is also being held in English. In 2013, the official opening ceremony of the academic year was also held in English for the first time.