Estonian-language university celebrates 97th anniversary

Thursday, 1 December 2016 the University of Tartu marks the 97th anniversary of Estonia’s national university. To celebrate the anniversary, the traditional ceremonial meeting is held in the university’s assembly hall, where honorary doctorates and doctoral degrees are conferred and thereafter the UT award for Contribution to Estonian National Identity is presented. See live webcast of the ceremony on

Celebrations of the 97th anniversary of the national university start already on 30 November at 16:00, when stipends of the University of Tartu Foundation are presented in the White Hall of the University of Tartu museum.

The highlights of the anniversary celebrations are on Thursday, 1 December. At 12:00 rector Volli Kalm opens the ceremonial meeting in the assembly hall of the university. Inviting the university’s staff and all the Estonians to join in the celebrations of the national university, the rector assures them that the unique role of the national university as the holder and developer of the Estonian language and cultural heritage has got a firm foothold. “There is no other way to strengthen the outstanding international position of the university than by being open and willing to cooperate. I am sure that these qualities support our role and sustainability as a national university and are expected by the Estonian society,” Volli Kalm underlines in his address. After the rector’s address, an academic lecture is given by Juhan Maiste, professor of art history, discussing the national and international perspective of the university scene.
On the birthday of the national university, 5 honorary doctorates and 118 PhD degrees defended within the previous year are conferred. The title of the honorary doctor of the University of Tartu is conferred upon the following distinguished professors:

Stefan Schreiner, professor of the University of Tübingen (Honorary Doctor of Theology)
Eberhard Klaus Wolfgang Winkler, professor of the University of Göttingen (Honorary Doctor of Linguistics)
Christian Tomuschat, professor emeritus of the Humboldt University of Berlin (Honorary Doctor of Law )
Kauko K. Mäkinen, professor emeritus of the University of Turku (Honorary Doctor of Dentistry)
Markku Leskelä, professor of the University of Helsinki (Honorary Doctor of Science and Technology)

The recipient of the UT Contribution to Estonian National Identity award will be announced. This award is granted to recognise individuals who in their creative pursuits have shown outstanding achievements in promoting the national cultural identity of Estonia.

The celebrations continue in the evening with the traditional torchlight procession that begins at 17:00 at the Vanemuise 46 academic building. At 19:00 the anniversary ball “International national university” begins in the Vanemuine Concert Hall.

In the course of the anniversary events the honorary doctors give public lectures and the annual conference of the UT museum “Century of Change in Estonian Medicine” is held in the White Hall of the museum. The 97th anniversary of the national university is also celebrated in Viljandi Culture Academy and Pärnu College. 

The exhibition of embroidered blankets from the Muhu Island and blankets from western Estonia, copied and made by the native textile students of UT Viljandi Culture Academy, will be open in the lobby of the main building of the university until 15 January.

The full programme of the anniversary events is available on the University of Tartu website.

NB! Thursday, 1 December is a shortened workday in the University of Tartu. The workday ends at 12:00.

Additional information:

Kady Sõstar
public relations specialist
737 5685, 511 9188

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: