350 years of Kiel University: "It doesn't work without partnerships."

In becoming President in June 2014, Professor Lutz Kipp also took on the role of scientific head of the University Jubilee in 2015. Kipp revealed the particular areas of focus he has planned for the 350th birthday of the Schleswig-Holstein alma mater in an interview with unizeit.

Kipp: We have already had lots of unbelievably positive and productive encounters with supporters from our region. For example, with Torsten Albig, our Minister-President, we have acquired a patron worthy of a 350th jubilee. And with Dr. Ulf Kämpfer, our Lord Mayor, we have also acquired a committed ambassador to represent us in the city.

Among the many partnerships that have been established, the one with the Steigenberger Hotel Group is, for me, a great example of everything that makes up a year of shared celebrations with people from the city and the region. As a result of this partnership, hotel guests come into contact with Kiel University in a totally new way when they order one of the cocktails in university colours or an appetizer in the form of a Kiel University lighthouse from the menu.

What is particularly dear to your heart among the wide variety of jubilee projects on offer?

There will be an improbably large number of highlights next year and the first of these is my personal favourite: the Jubilee Ball during University Week. My wife and I have been enthusiastic supporters of the university ball for years. I myself am not particularly good at dancing, but I thoroughly enjoy it. Events like these are also perfect occasions in which to really bring society into the university. They offer great opportunities.

It is also important to me that the widest possible variety of events and projects are realised over the course of the year, for big and small guests, for university members and for citizens. They should be able to reacquaint themselves with their university during the jubilee year.

Kiel University's previous jubilees have often been overshadowed by underfunding, controversial legal reforms and reached capacity limits. These topics are still an issue in the university's 350th year. How is a whole year of celebrations reconcilable with, among other things, a considerable structural deficit?

A jubilee is especially important in times when funding for universities is lacking. In this year of celebrations we can show society how important a university is. And how important investments in it are. Ultimately, among other things, we are educating the next generation, which is vital to the future viability of Schleswig-Holstein and our region.

However, against the backdrop of scarce financial resources, of course we have asked ourselves how we can celebrate a fabulous jubilee with tremendous appeal with relatively little funding. This is why we have looked for strong partners and they did not need to be asked twice. Our request for partners to work together with us in shaping our Jubilee year was met with open ears everywhere, without exception. We are very grateful for this openness. This has been shown already this year, for example, in the attention paid to the single violet table in what was otherwise a totally white street for White Night in Holtenauer Straße. Thanks to the Holtenauer Verein (the Holtenauer Straße association) this event will be Purple Night next year. Without really well-functioning partnerships like this one, we would not be able to put on our jubilee celebrations next year.

What image of the university would you like to portray with the aid of the jubilee?

We would like to demonstrate that the university is an excellent and very important centre for teaching and research in Schleswig-Holstein and beyond. We would like to show that we are a friendly and lively part of Kiel and Schleswig-Holstein. And we want to hold out our hand to anyone looking for our help and advice.

How do you plan to achieve this?

Through partnerships, collaborations and a colourful programme stemming from the university, we also want to reach people who have very few points of contact with the university in their day-to-day life. We want to show these people in particular that we are not separate and detached. We are part of you. We meet these people, for example, through projects with Theater Kiel or the Kiel University team's participation in the Kiel.Lauf running event. We show them that we are interwoven with the city and the region in many diverse ways. Likewise, our members should come together as a community through their common experiences and be proud of their university.

"In summary... harmonious". This is how Jubilee director Professor Wolfgang Bargmann described the celebrations for Kiel University's 300th jubilee. What conclusion would you like to draw at the end of 2015?

We have a fantastic jubilee year behind us. We were able to show that we are a living part of the city and that the university campus is a place for cultural as well as academic experiences. We are looking forward to the next 350 years with the City of Kiel and the State Schleswig-Holstein.

The interview was conducted by Claudia Eulitz