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2012 – 150th Anniversary of RTU

2012 – 150th Anniversary of RTU

An ambitious celebration took place in 2012, when Riga Technical University (RTU) celebrated  150th Anniversary. Already on 14 October 2011, celebrating the 149th Anniversary and opening the 150th Anniversary, in the central building of the university at 1 Kaļķu Street, Rector Academician Leonīds Ribickis presented the university’s «birth certificate» – Statutes of Riga Polytechnicum signed by The Tsar of Russia Alexander II.

Throughout 2012, the festival «RTU skan» took place, delighting the audience with songs and dances, concerts and theatre performances, poetry lectures and a painting exhibition, as well as a series of sports events «Students pret profesoru: kurš kuru?», in which students for the first time in university history fought against professors in six sports: shooting, curling, badminton, squash, volleyball and football.
On 17 March, the first RTU Science Festival took place, where students helped to get acquainted with technical sciences for children and pupils.

On 12 May, the RTU campaign «Iestādīsim dziesmu» took place in the Garden of Destiny. Symbolically confirming the common destinies of RTU and the Latvian state, Rector Academician Leonīds Ribickis planted a big oak in the Garden at Koknese city, while folk art groups planted a lilac alley accompanied by songs and dances, as well as the garden amphitheatre was supplemented with boulders provided by almost a hundred university employees, lecturers and students.

On 18 May, the campaign «Laid, lai pulkstenis iet! 150 dienas līdz 150. jubilejai» was launched, counting the remaining days until 14 October.
Following the tradition of European universities, in the anniversary year the Department of International and Public Relations organized the first RTU International Week, which took place from 28 May to 1 June. It was attended by 24 participants from 11 countries.

On 18 August, RTU participated in the Riga Festival with an ambitious event «Es Tu RTU» in Vērmane Garden. Students, lecturers and employees had prepared an exciting and creative holiday program for Rigans and guests of Riga.

The culmination of the 150th Anniversary celebrations was opened on 4 October in the university’s central building at 1 Kaļķu Street, with a press conference dedicated to the week of the anniversary celebrations and the opening of the RTU anniversary coin issued by the Bank of Latvia. On 5 October, RTU unpacked another significant gift dedicated to the 150th Anniversary – the book «Senākā tehniskā universitāte Baltijā – 150. Laikmeti un personības», providing an insight into the history of the university, including the most important stopping points and descriptions of the most outstanding RTU personalities. In honour of the 150th Anniversary, Latvia Post issued a postage stamp, the opening of which took place on 8 October.

On 10 October, Rector Academician Leonīds Ribickis together with his colleagues laid flowers at the resting places of former RTU rectors and professors in the cemeteries of Riga. On the same day, a ceremonial laying of flowers took place at the Freedom Monument. L. Ribickis recorded a wish for Latvia in the Honorary Space of the Freedom Monument.

The 53rd conference was held at the International Exhibition Centre in Ķīpsala from 10 to 12 October at the year of the significant anniversary. For the first time in the history of RTU, an international congress of engineers and graduates of Riga Polytechnic Institute / Riga Technical University (RPI / RTU) took place simultaneously with the scientific conference. For the first time in the history of RTU, the conference was organized for all sections together. All faculties and research directions were represented in 13 sections and 26 subsections.

On 13 October, a solemn sitting of the Senate took place in the Great Hall of RTU. On the afternoon of 13 October, a solemn sitting dedicated to the 150th Anniversary of RTU was held at the Riga Latvian Society House, attended by Speaker of the Saeima Solvita Āboltiņa, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis, as well as former and current RTU employees and students.

On 14 October, RTU with a large-scale production of music, art and technology «Radi tālāk!» celebrated its 150th Anniversary in the Arena Riga.

The university has been run by 12 rectors for 150 years. To mark their contribution to the development of the university, a calendar for 2012 was published, in which each month of the year was dedicated to one of the rectors of RPI / RTU.

A large special issue of RTU magazine «Jaunais Inženieris» was also dedicated to the anniversary of the university. The issue published a plan of events for the anniversary celebrations, congratulations from the state and RTU management, the most important events and facts related to the activities of the university in 150 years, future plans, etc. 

On 18 October, RTU Scientific Library organized a conference dedicated to its 150th Anniversary entitled «Akadēmiskās bibliotēkas 21. gadsimtā».

In the 150th Anniversary year, several new traditions began in the life of the staff of Riga Technical University. One of them is the RTU Alumni Association founded on 23 May 2012. (It should be explained that already in 1910 the Association of Graduates of Riga Polytechnic Institute was established, which had branches in the largest cities – Moscow, St. Petersburg, Riga).

After the suggestion of the Alumni Association, the Senate of RTU established a new honorary title – RTU Honorary Graduate.

Events dedicated to the first polytechnicum established in 19th century in the territory of the Russian Empire (Riga) for the significant anniversary continued in 2013. On 28 January, RTU Rector Academician Leonīds Ribickis unveiled memorial plaques to RTU Honorary Members Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovolsky and Friedrich Zander in the main building of the University.

On 26 July 2013, marking the 150th Anniversary of the world-famous chemist and former Rector of Riga Technical University (RTU) Paul Walden, RTU Rector Academician Leonīds Ribickis and P. Walden’s grandson Professor Erkki Hollo solemnly opened the street named after him in the suburbs of Kurzeme between Zunda Embankment and Ķīpsalas Street.