New minister welcomed at DTU Commemoration Day

Friday 11 May 18
On one of the first sunny and hot days of the year, DTU celebrated its Commemoration Day 2018. In addition to the glorious weather.

Photos: Thorkild Christensen.

The festive event saw the welcoming of a brand new minister, a review of the year, and the presentation of numerous honourable prizes. The day was concluded with a dinner and party until dawn.

Prior to the start of DTU’s Commemoration Day 2018, guests, students, and employees were welcomed at the end of the red carpet. And this year, DTU President Anders Bjarklev, Executive Vice President, Provost Rasmus Larsen, and Chairman of Polyteknisk Forening (PF student association) Lars Holm were able to meet Tommy Ahlers, newly appointed Minister for Higher Education and Science.

The new minister and over 1,000 guests, staff, and students participated in the academic part of the day which included both pride in DTU’s progress and concern about the limitations placed on the University’s ability to exploit its potential.

The programme also featured performances by percussionist Marilyn Mazur and singer Cæcilie Norby.

After the academic part, the celebrations continued for the students, employees, and special guests with a dinner and dance: A three-course menu, concerts with, among others, Scarlett Pleasure, Pede B., and Faustix. Of course the evening also featured the traditional dancing—both casual and Les Lanciers.

Highlights from the academic part


"Innovation and entrepreneurship benefit DTU and our partners, but also Denmark and, essentially...the whole world"
President Anders Bjarklev

Photo: Thorkild Christensen

President Anders Bjarklev kicked off the academic part of Commemoration Day, and began his speech by congratulating the newly appointed Minister for Higher Education and Science Tommy Ahlers on his appointment. “We at DTU are delighted that one of your first actions as minister is to participate in our Commemoration Day: We look forward to working with you.”

Anders Bjarklev went on to focus on innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Last week, DTU was named the most innovative university in the Nordic region and the 9th most innovative university in Europe. Innovation and entrepreneurship benefit DTU and our partners, but also Denmark and, essentially...the whole world.”

However, according to Anders Bjarklev, growth could have been better.

“We have examples of our international employees having to give up starting their own businesses because of the Danish legislation—something which has cost Denmark growth and new jobs. Think of the growth potential we could have here in Denmark if we removed the barriers for our international staff.”

Addressing the students, Anders Bjarklev said that he did not understand the idea of excluding students from the universities’ boards of studies.

“50 years ago, the students were on the barricades, protesting. Their actions have actually produced a lot of good things. But the basic notion of influence now seems to have hit headwind and, well..., I really don’t understand it.

Finally, Anders Bjarklev called for a little more ‘wind in the sails’ for the universities in general.

“However, at DTU we are making our own wind. This April, we inaugurated the National Wind Tunnel at DTU Risø Campus, a unique research tunnel: Here we can create up to three times hurricane strength—in 90 seconds!

This, my esteemed guests, is what I call true tailwind.”

Read the President's speech in its entirety.

DTU’s gold medal for Professor Emeritus Knut Conradsen


Photo: Thorkild Christensen

DTU’s gold medal is awarded to Knut Conradsen for his extraordinary efforts through an extraordinarily long period of almost 40 years in DTU’ senior management.

“As executive vice president, provost, he played a key role in DTU’s transformation into a self-governing institution which was geared to a much greater extent to obtain external funding. His legendary work efforts meant that he had an incomparable overview of DTU’s research, teaching, and buildings,” said Anders Bjarklev.

Thousands of engineering students have been following his popular lectures at DTU. At DTU, he initiated our research into statistical image analysis. Today, the research group he started counts 50 researchers. The group’s research has been translated into many applications and has formed the basis for more than 20 businesses.

The G.A. Hagemann Gold Medal to Martin Philip Bendsøe


Photo: Thorkild Christensen

Martin Bendsøe was awarded The G.A. Hagemann Gold Medal. He has an MSc in Mathematics from the University of Copenhagen and a PhD from DTU in 1983. He received the Dr.Tech. degree from DTU in 1995 and is Doctor Honoris Causa from Université de Liege in 2010.

The last 60 years, DTU has hosted a world-class research environment in the field of structural optimization. In 1988, Martin Bendsøe’s collaboration with another young researcher resulted in the groundbreaking article ‘Generating optimum topologies in structural design using a homogenization method.’ Today, this method is part of the standard basis for topology optimization which is used industrially by all aircraft and car manufacturers. Martin Bendsøe’s work as Dean has resulted in MSc degrees in international excellence, a well-functioning quality system, and a positive institutional accreditation.

Chairman of Polyteknisk Forening: We must look out for each other


Photo: Thorkild Christensen

"Why are students not allowed to speak at Commemoration Day at their own university? Why is this Commemoration Day reserved for a high-society clientele?” Lars Holm began his Commemoration Day speech with a quote by Finn Ejnar Madsen, who, at the University of Copenhagen’s Annual Commemoration in 1968, took over the rostrum, very similar to this one, to criticize the lack of student influence on the university and the almighty professors .

“Fortunately, we have come a long way since then. I’m proud to be part of an educational environment where the interaction between students, staff, and the university improves teaching, creates an elite university, and develops solutions to society’s problems.

Unfortunately, the old habits are raising their ugly heads again. However, this time the adversary is not almighty professors, but rather emerging ministerial despotism. There is no longer the time or room for giving students and employees the influence that is so key to both the university and our democratic education.”

Lars Holm concluded his speech by encouraging everyone to

“Be courteous and respect each other. Be aware of your fellow human beings, so we can get the most out of being together’. Only by taking a good look in the mirror can we reverse this negative trend in society, and that also applies to this University. DTU is a community based on dialogue and mutual respect. We are a community where we need to look out for each other. Only then will we be wiser and only then can we have a community where there is room for everyone.”

Two awards to Lecturers of the Year

The students at DTU each year nominate the Lecturers of the Year. This year the honours went to Samel Arslanagic and Sten Schmidl Søbjærg.

“You have made your teaching exceptional and have helped a lot of students. You have helped them go further than what they themselves thought possible. Thank you for the huge difference you have made to the students in your lectures,” said PF President Lars Holm in his explanatory statement for the two awards which come with a Georg Jensen carafe as well as DKK 25,000.

Occupational Health and Safety Award


Photo: Thorkild Christensen

The year’s Occupational Health and Safety Award went to OSH Coordinator Finn Paaske Christensen.

“Employing a systematic approach to the establishment of the workplace assessment system, Finn has ensured high visibility for and focus on a good working environment, and he has successfully introduced a safety and health briefing for all new first-semester students as well as all new PhD students and postdocs,” said Anders Bjarklev in his motivation.

Student start-up of the year


Photo: Thorkild Christensen

Thomas Trebbien and Andreas Leth Bockhoff received this year’s Student Start-up award for their start-up company Trebo. Thomas and Andreas are both BEng graduates in Mechanical Engineering and are currently in the MSc Eng programme in Design and Innovation.

They have invented a unique machine which can separate different types of plastic waste. They already have a well-functioning technology and potential buyers. The award was presented by Director for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Senior Vice President Marianne Thellersen.

Annual Innovation Award


Photo: Thorkild Christensen

Head of Centre John Heebøll received this year’s Innovation Award for his efforts to inspire many young people to dare to take the plunge and create their own business. The award was presented by Director for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Senior Vice President Marianne Thellersen.

Five researchers appointed Dr.Techn.


Over the past year, five researchers have defended their technical doctorate at DTU. President Anders Bjarklev presented the doctoral diplomas to Ken Haste Andersen, Kristian Sommer Thygesen, Anke Hagen, Steffen Foss Hansen and Morten Bache.

Two honorary doctorates


Professor Paulo Martins, University of Lisbon 

Photo: Thorkild Christensen
Professor Charles J. Weschler

This year, DTU presented its most prestigious degree, the honorary doctorates, to two researchers, Professor Paulo Martins, University of Lisbon, and Charles J. Weschler, Visiting Professor at DTU Civil Engineering.

Lecture concluded the awards party


In keeping with tradition, the awards party ended with a gala lecture. This year, the lecture was entitled “Immunotherapy, new technology, and effective cancer treatment” and was held by Professor Sine Reker Hadrup.

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