University of Tartu is celebrating 98th birthday of Estonian-language university

Friday, December 1 2017 marks the 98th birthday of the Estonia’s national university in Tartu. To celebrate the event, several events take place during the week-long celebrations – honorary doctorates and doctorates are conferred, the University’s honorary member named and the laurate of The University of Tartu Award for Contribution to Estonian National Identity named.

The celebrations started at the Pärnu college on Tuesday Nov 28. In Tartu, the events start a day later, on Wednesday Nov 29. The varied program includes a suitable event for all UT students, alumni as well as the general public.

The Rector of the University Volli Kalm emphasizes the importance of the national university in his address: “The country and society of Estonia lives in the wait of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, just as the University of Tartu prepares for the 100th birthday of the Estonian university, higher education and clerisy. For a small nation, a national university and own-language higher education is a great privilege. The entire university feels the opportunities and responsibilities this privilege includes. We call upon all Estonians and our charitable partners to support the national university’s mission.” In the preparation for the 100th anniversary celebrations, all can contribute to the cause through fundraising campaigns, among others means.

In the formal ceremony of the birthday of the national university, 5 honorary doctorates and 141 PhD degrees defended within the previous year are conferred. The title of the honorary doctor of the University of Tartu is conferred upon Mihály Hoppál, the Doctor of Science of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Honorary Doctor in Folkloristics and Semiotics), Salme Näsi, Professor of the University of Tampere (Honorary Doctor in Economics), Kauko Antti Markku Kaste, Professor Emeritus of the University of Helsinki (Honorary Doctor in Neurology), Eske Willerslev, Professor of the University of Copenhagen (Honorary Doctor in National Sciences) and Vladimir Veksler, Professor of the Paris-Sud University (Honorary Doctor in Pharmacology). The recipient of the UT Contribution to Estonian National Identity award will be announced. This award is granted to recognize individuals who in their creative pursuits have shown outstanding achievements in promoting the national cultural identity of Estonia. The academic lecture “National University in the Digital Society” will be given by Marju Lauristin, the Professor of Social Communication. The ceremony can be viewed on the UTTV website.

This year’s 98th anniversary marks the birth of the Estonian-language University of Tartu in 1919, and is celebrated in three cities – Tartu, Pärnu and Viljandi. The programme includes public lectures, opening of a photo exhibition, the traditional torchlight procession dating back to the first Republic, as well as a ball.

The entire program can be viewed on the University website.

Contact: Kady Sõstar, Senior Specialist of the International Cooperation Unit, 737 5685,