According to Jiří Hanuš, Vice-Rector for Academic and Cultural Affairs, who hosted the programme, the ceremony was an opportunity to remember the journey of Masaryk University since 1904 and the turbulent times it has lived through. This was also reflected in the speech of the Rector of Masaryk University, Martin Bareš.
“We have come together on this special occasion to commemorate the founding of our University. And to pay tribute to some of the personalities who have shaped and continue to shape this university through their work, spreading its good name and the ideas and ideals on which it is based,” said Martin Bareš at the beginning. He mentioned Masaryk’s democratic legacy, the republican tradition inspired by America and the ideals of humanism. He compared the history of the university to a journey through the 20th century, through the Great War and the First Czechoslovak Republic, to the establishment of ten faculties and a magnificent campus. “It is the story of a university that was born from nothing and gradually built and developed. Then it was almost destroyed and its students and teachers found themselves in Nazi prisons or execution sites. It is the story of a university that later had its name stolen from it, but which then rose from the ashes and in a relatively short time went from being a regional school of little importance to an internationally renowned scientific and educational institution that successfully competes with the great universities of Europe and the world,” he added.
Rector Martin Bareš also quoted the first president of Czechoslovakia and founder of the university, Tomáš G. Masaryk, as a decisive, determined and timeless man whose actions should serve as an example to people. Masaryk’s message is that we should not give in to fear and anxiety and allow ourselves to be manoeuvred into a position where freedom and determination are lost in the debate on security measures. According to Rector Martin Bareš, Masaryk teaches us to draw strength, energy and hope from the stories of the past, from dialogue with our predecessors and from their work. “And in the case of an institution like the University, this can be achieved in particular by cultivating the foundations on which it is based, which means, among other things, the ability to draw inspiration from our exceptional colleagues, the ability to learn from their ideas, their work and their results. This is also why events like today’s have a deeper meaning: it is not just about recognising the work and achievements of our colleagues, but also about recognising together what is of value and meaning. It is also about expressing gratitude for the fact that Masaryk University can be what it is,” he said before the actual awarding of the medals.
A total of 13 people were awarded the MU Silver Medal during the ceremony. Seventeen personalities from the fields of science, culture, higher education and public life received the MU Gold Medal, while the MU Great Gold Medal was awarded to Pavel Rychetský, former long-standing judge and President of the Czech Constitutional Court. The MU Symphony Orchestra provided the music for the ceremony.
The Silver Medal of Masaryk University is usually awarded to leading personalities of Masaryk University who have improved the reputation and standing of the university at the national and international level, deepened cooperation with Czech and foreign institutions and significantly developed its disciplines in the long term. The MU Gold Medal is awarded to prominent personalities from the fields of science, culture, higher education and public life in recognition of their long-term outstanding contributions to their development, including their commitment to the fight for human rights and dignity. The MU Great Gold Medal is awarded to the most outstanding leaders in public life in recognition of their services to education, democracy and humanity as a whole.
“Receiving the medal is a great honour, which I appreciate very much, as I consider Masaryk University to be one of the most historically important centres of higher education in our country,” said Pavel Rychetský. He added that he had been closely associated with Brno for the past twenty years since it became the seat of the Constitutional Court and other supreme judicial authorities after the Velvet Revolution in 1989. He added that Brno had become his second home and that he recognised it as a centre of education, theatres, concerts and a place full of students and friendly people. “Masaryk University, especially the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Social Studies, became my close partners in cooperation and dialogue, a background from which many experts were recruited, without whom the Constitutional Court would not have achieved such a level of respect,” said Pavel Rychetský. He also mentioned the founders of the MU and prominent personalities such as Tomáš G. Masaryk, Karel Engliš, František Weyr and Petr Fiala, the current Czech Prime Minister.
“I would like to thank them all for the award and for everything that Masaryk University has done and is doing for the education and culture of our country,” concluded Pavel Rychetský.
LIST OF WINNERS
Stříbrná medaile MU
Silver Medal of Masaryk University
Women’s basketball team
Jana Veselá (Faculty of Sports Studies), Eva Vítečková (Faculty of Sports Studies), Jana Kovaříková (Faculty of Education), Romana Hamzová (Faculty of Education), Lucie Blahůšková (Faculty of Education), Ivana Večeřová (Faculty of Economics and Administration) and Hana Horáková (Faculty of Sports Studies, Faculty of Education)
Jan Brychta – Director of the Infrastructure Development Office at the Rector’s Office
Ivana Černá – Head of the Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Informatics, MU
Petr Hrdlička – graduate of the Faculty of Sports Studies, coach of the Czech national shooting team
Petr Kyloušek – Professor, Institute of Romance Languages and Literatures, Faculty of Arts, MU
Hana Machková – Member of the MU Scientific Board, Vice-Rector of the Prague University of Economics and Business
Jana Musilová – Professor, Department of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics, Faculty of Science, MU
František Plhoň – physician
Jan Šmarda – Professor, Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Science, MU
Alena Štětková – physician, long-term chair of the MU Board of Trustees
Kateřina Hédervári Tučková – writer, graduate of the Faculty of Arts, MU
Jeffrey Vanderziel – former Head of the Department of English and American Studies, Faculty of Arts, MU
Iva Zlatušková – Head of the Personal Data Protection Office, Secretary of the MU Academic Senate
Gold Medal of Masaryk University
Josef Bejček – Professor of the Department of Commercial Law, Faculty of Law, MU, former Dean of the Faculty of Law, MU
Ladislav Blažek – one of the founders and the first dean of the Faculty of Economics and Administration, MU
Břetislav Dančák – Associate Professor, Department of International Relations and European Studies, Faculty of Social Studies, MU, former Dean of the same faculty, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Poland
Karola Dillenburger – Head of the Centre for Behavioural Analysis at Queen’s University Belfast
Ladislav Janíček – Rector of Brno University of Technology
Jaromír Leichmann – Vice Dean for Development and Quality of the Faculty of Science, MU
Ivan Malý – Associate Professor, Department of Public Economics, Faculty of Economics and Administration, MU, former Dean of the same faculty
Jiří Mayer – head of the Department of Internal Medicine, Haematology and Oncology and Faculty of Medicine, former Dean of the same faculty
Luděk Matyska – Director of the CERIT-SC Centre – CERIT SC of the Institute of Computer Science, Professor of the Department of Computer Systems and Communications, Faculty of Informatics, MU
Jiří Němec – Associate Professor of the Department of Social Education, Faculty of Education, MU, former Dean of the same faculty
Milan Pol – Professor at the Institute of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Arts, MU, former Dean of the same faculty
Naděžda Rozehnalová – Head of the Private International Law Centre, professor at the Department of International and European Law, Faculty of Law, MU, former Dean of the same faculty
Antonín Slaný – Professor of the Department of Economics, Faculty of Economics and Administration, MU, former Dean of the same faculty
Jan Slovák – Professor, Institute of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science, MU, former Dean of the same faculty
University of Rennes – member of the EDUC Alliance
Jiří Vorlíček – professor of the Department of Internal Medicine, Haematology and Oncology of the Brno University Hospital and the Faculty of Medicine, former Dean of the same faculty
Jan Žaloudík – Professor of the Department of Surgical Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, Medical University of Brno, former Dean of the same faculty
The Great Medal of Masaryk University
Pavel Rychetský – former judge and President of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic, prominent Czech politician, signatory of Charter 77