On 27 November, a photo exhibition “Ülikooli näod” (“Faces of the University”) was opened on the wall of the von Bock House in Tartu to celebrate the 95th anniversary of the national university. At the exhibition, the face of the university is reflected by 43 esteemed lecturers, professors and researchers of the University of Tartu who are also popular among the students, active in the society and known by the public.
Rector of the University of Tartu Volli Kalm said in his speech that this exhibition replaces the previous one that was set up in 2007 and was supposed to stay on display for only a year. Seven years have passed since then. “Here, on the wall of the von Bock House, two ambitions should be visible for all spectators. First, the gallery includes many younger lecturers and professors of the University of Tartu, and second, with this selection, we also intend to honour the ladies working at the university,” said Kalm, referring to the free spots on some windows that could motivate more leading female academic staff to join the university and ensure gender balance.
Director of Narva College of the University of Tartu Katri Raik who also appears on the exhibition wall congratulated everyone for the 95th anniversary of our national university. She believes that the face of our alma mater has traces of all of us and said that every one of us has their own idea of the best university. “My idea of the best university is a university where the students guide the teaching staff. I believe that students must be demanding and study in curricula where they can be confident of their bright future. We must teach them in the way we would like to be taught. I wish that both your and my ideas of the university reach high,” said Raik.
Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas commented on one of the most interesting walls of Tartu as follows: “Professors of the University of Tartu smile more than they used to. I suppose it is a sign that the academic family feels good at the university and in Tartu in general.” Klaas added that a window is a very interesting symbol: someone has cut a window to Europe; someone is opening the window to let fresh air in; someone comes to the window to wave to the people. “I wish that the windows of the University of Tartu and the windows of Tartu always remain open for fresh ideas, that we use the windows to say “we are here” to the world and invite visitors. Let’s keep the windows open and let there be many of them,” emphasised the mayor.
The exhibition “Faces of the University” is a remake of the photo exhibition “Aknal III” (“On the Window III”) that was compiled by the photographer Alar Madisson in 2007. The authors of the exhibition “Faces of the University” are the UT Graphic Designer and Artist Maarja Roosi and Photographer Andres Tennus.
The people for the photos were chosen from among academic staff of the four areas of teaching and research – humaniora, socialia, realia et naturalia and medicina.
In 1919, the UT became the first institution of higher education in Estonia to teach in the Estonian language. In December 2014, the University of Tartu celebrates the 95th anniversary of Estonia's national university.