The UWM has never hosted so many distinguished guests. This year, University Day, celebrated on 1 June, had a particularly official character, as a culmination point for the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the university. The ceremony was attended by rectors, pro-rectors and deans of the largest Polish universities, representatives of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, members of parliament, representatives of the local government, the city and the province. The guests included, among others, former Prime Minister, Prof. Jerzy Buzek, who signed the historical act establishing the University of Warmia and Mazury, Prof. Jerzy Zdrada, Vice-Minister for education in Jerzy Buzek’s government; Prof. Jerzy Woźnicki, the president of the Polish Rectors’ Foundation; Prof. Zbigniew Marciniak, president of the General Council for Higher Education, Prof. Jerzy Szmit, president of the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland, representatives of many scientific bodies, clergy, uniformed services and business.
International guests included delegations from partner universities in Italy, Spain and Germany.
Prof. Ryszard Górecki, the Rector of the University of Warmia and Mazury, welcoming guests, recalled the first year of the university history.
‘At the first stage of its twenty years of history, the Kortowo campus was considered the largest construction site in Olsztyn, and in all of Warmia and Mazury. The buildings constructed at that time included: the University Library, the Collegium Biologiae, the Centre for Humanities, the Conference Centre, Environmental Biotechnology laboratories, the Centre of Aquaculture and Ecological Engineering, the Regional IT Centre, new facilities for the Faculty of Technical Sciences, Faculty of Food Science and Veterinary Medicine. The University Swimming Pool was created from scratch’, said the Rector.
The University not only invested in infrastructure, but also placed emphasis on the development of science and didactics. During its 20 years of existence, 252 UWM researchers were granted titles of professor, 720 were awarded the degree of doctor habilitated, 2,254 doctoral theses were defended and over 300 national and foreign patents were obtained.
Today, the UWM consists of 17 faculties, of which 7 have been awarded research category A, and 9 – category B, and a university branch in Ełk. The University can award the degree of doctor habilitated in 15 disciplines, and the degree of doctor in 20. Researchers are carrying out 157 domestic projects and 14 international ones, as well as 2 structural projects. Financial expenditures for research amount to more than PLN 50 million a year. Among 3,160 employees of the university, 1,837 people are academic teachers, with the group of professor and doctors habilitated amounting to more than 636.
‘I thank all of you with my whole heart for 20 years of creating our university together’, Rector Prof. Górecki concluded.
One of the major moments of the jubilee celebrations was the ceremony of awarding honoris causa doctorate to prof. dr. hab. Bogusław Buszewski from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, an outstanding researcher, a representative of the greatest Polish chemists internationally recognized in the field of analytical and physical chemistry, the founder of the Toruń analytical school – a world-renowned research centre.
The motion to honour Prof. Buszewski with this highest academic award was put forward by the authorities of the UWM in recognition of the professor's contribution to the development of Polish science, acknowledging many years of scientific cooperation.
The jubilee UWM Day had one more, particularly solemn moment. The academic community of our university was shown for the first time a new banner. It was presented to the Rector, Prof. Górecki, by its founders, Andrzej Grabowski, Sławomir Lenarcik and Władysław Płoski. University authorities were also wearing for the first time their new insignia – with chain links stylised as a tree, with the same motif present on the banner and in the emblem of the University.
The University invited Olsztyn inhabitants to participate in the family scientific picnic in the Central Park.