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Masaryk University celebrates 105th anniversary with tributes to key figures

Sunday 28 January 2024, will mark exactly 105 years since the founding of Masaryk University. The second oldest university in the Czech Republic will celebrate the anniversary with a series of events throughout the year.

Masaryk University was founded in 1919, after the establishment of independent Czechoslovakia, as a culmination of the efforts of previous generations who had tried to establish new universities in various parts of Austria-Hungary. It was closed during the Second World War and declined under the communist regime.

“I look back on 105 years of our academic journey with a sense of pride. Thanks to the constant efforts of our students, teachers and staff, Masaryk University has become a byword for excellence, which is confirmed by our current position in international rankings, which in many respects is the best in our history. This success is a living legacy of the vision of Tomáš G. Masaryk, our founder and the first Czechoslovak president, a man whose vision and courage influenced our entire nation. He believed that education was the key to the development of society and freedom. Today, more than ever, we are committed to upholding his legacy and continuing to build an institution that illuminates the paths of education and science and serves society. I thank all the students, teachers and staff who, through their daily efforts, contribute to our success and foster the spirit of never-ending learning and innovation,” said Martin Bareš, Rector of Masaryk University.

The 105th anniversary celebrations will start on Wednesday 31 January in the Karel Engliš Auditorium at the Faculty of Law. During the ceremony, thirty-one outstanding university personalities and public figures will be honoured with the Gold and Silver Medals.

The number 105 will be featured throughout the academic year at various conferences, festivals and debates. One of the flagship events will be the laying of the foundation stone of the MUNI BioPharma Hub in March. The new education and research infrastructure will provide a unique combination of modern teaching facilities for the Faculty of Pharmacy and cutting-edge research infrastructure for the Preclinical Centre and the Centre for Molecular Medicine. It will contribute to increasing the resilience of Czech society to expected and unexpected threats, and will also contribute to the availability of a skilled workforce. The whole project will become an organic part of the Bohunice University Campus.

Blood donation campaign and Golden Graduations

The four founding faculties of Masaryk University will also take part in the anniversary celebrations. The Faculty of Law, for example, will hold a Golden Graduation Ceremony in October for the first group of students to graduate after the faculty’s re-establishment in 1969. The Faculty of Arts will unveil a commemorative plaque of a prominent personality in its courtyard on the occasion of Humanities Week in November.

The medical faculty’s blood donation campaign, which runs from February to May, aims to encourage regular blood donations and symbolically support the university celebrations. In cooperation with the Transfusion Department of St. Anne’s University Hospital and the Transfusion Department of the University Hospital Brno, the faculty plans to bring first-time donors through this awareness-raising event. It would like to get 105 of them – or more.

Other traditional events, such as the Dies Academicus (academic day), Masaryk Days and Mendel Days, will also be held during the year. The Telč University Centre will also celebrate its 20th anniversary in March.

Masaryk University was founded on 28 January 1919 by Act No. 50 as the second Czech university. The first Czechoslovak president, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, made a significant contribution to the establishment of the university; in 1885, he wrote about the need to establish a second Czech university in Moravia and six years later he submitted a first proposal for its establishment to the Chamber of Deputies. The University of Brno originally had four faculties: the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Science. The first rector of the university was the economist Karel Engliš. Today, Masaryk University is one of the most important educational and scientific institutions in the Czech Republic. It has ten faculties with more than 200 departments, institutes and clinics.