Professor Peeter Tulviste passed away on Saturday, 11 March.

It is with deep sadness that I have to inform you that Professor Peeter Tulviste, Rector Emeritus of the University of Tartu, passed away on Saturday, 11 March. We mourn the loss of a great scholar and a great man who served as the Rector of the University of Tartu from 1993 to 1998.

Peeter Tulviste was born on 28 October 1945. He graduated from the Tallinn Secondary School No. 10 in 1964 and earned his first degree in Psychology in 1969 from the Moscow State University. He continued his studies at the same university under world-renowned Professor Alexander Luria and went on to obtain his Candidate of Science degree (PhD) in Psychology in 1975 and Sc. D. in Psychology in 1987.

His entire academic career was devoted to the scientific research in psychology and training of psychologists. His contacts with the University of Tartu started already while studying and doing his research in Moscow. He began his academic career at Tartu in 1969 as a lecturer at the Chair of Psychology and Logic of the University of Tartu Faculty of History and Languages. He became associate professor in 1978 and full professor in 1988.

Tulviste’s main scientific interest was cultural psychology. As one of the world’s leading scientists in this field of research he helped to bring about a “cultural turn” in psychology. He supervised several doctoral dissertations and his research results have found their way into a wide range of international scientific publications.

Peeter Tulviste was elected as an academician of the Estonian Academy of Science in 1994 and served as its Vice-President from 1994 to 2004. Besides his academic work, he was always prepared to take on administrative roles at the university. From 1992 to 1993 he served as Vice-Rector for Research and from 1993 to 1998 as Rector of the University of Tartu. Since 2015 he was Professor Emeritus and Advisor to the Rector.

Peeter Tulviste’s contribution to the development of Estonia’s alma mater cannot be overestimated. As Rector he was an inspiring and demanding leader, a wise and principled reformer of the university. His time of office as Rector saw important structural reorganisations and dramatic expansion of the University’s international contacts and activities.

As a member of Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (Estonian: Isamaa ja Res Publica Liit) he served as the Chairman of the Tartu City Council (from 1999–2001) and was twice elected to the Estonian Parliament (from 2003–2011).

Peeter Tulviste was a member of numerous committees, foundations and associations. He was vice-president of the Estonian Research and Development Council from 1994–1998, and president and board member of the European Movement Estonia from 2000–2002. He was also a recipient of numerous awards and acknowledgements, including Sweden’s Royal Order of the Polar Star, 1st class (1995), Order of the National Coat of Arms, 3rd class (2006). Tulviste was Honorary Doctor of Voronezh State University and Medical Academy of Poland.

In his social responsibilities he was driven by a strong sense of mission and statesmanlike attitude. He will be fondly remembered for his innate friendliness and kindness in his public roles and interpersonal relationships.

The funeral service will be held on Saturday, 18 March at noon in the University Assembly Hall. A book of condolences will be available for signing until Friday, 17 March from 9 am to 4:30 pm at the Rector’s Office, and on Saturday in the foyer of the University Main Building before the funeral service.

Professor Volli Kalm

Rector of the University of Tartu