The sun was shining and from the early morning it was beaming with congratulations for SDU, which celebrated its 50th anniversary on Thursday.
During the morning the birthday cakes started rolling into the various campuses, while in Odense 36 people attended an unusual lunch.
They were invited because they were some of the University’s very first students and staff back in September 1966.
Nostalgia and reminiscences
So the restaurant was buzzing with elderly voices and grizzled heads, swapping reminiscences of their time at the University 50 years ago.
“It wasn’t exactly easy to find all your addresses,” said the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Bjarne Graabech in his welcome speech to the guests, who responded with a smile.
Out of the 180 students from that time, 36 had turned up for lunch and some convivial time in one another’s company.
Fresh start for Ritt Bjerregaard
The guests included former cabinet minister, Ritt Bjerregaard who studied Philosophy and History in the early years of the University.
She looked back on an exciting time and a fresh start, when she and Søren Mørch moved to Odense from Copenhagen.
“I studied Philosophy at here with Mogens Amdi Petersen. Like myself, he was a school teacher, and we enjoyed some great discussions,” she told guests.
The University is the sum of all its parts
In his speech to the guests, the Vice-Chancellor, Henrik Dam described how SDU is not just a name and a tradition, but the sum of all its parts: the people who have been part of the University, and those who will be.
“In 1966, we had 180 students. Today, 32,000 students have been enrolled. A single campus has become six, so SDU has had its fair share of growing pains.”
The guests were then invited downstairs to a slice of traditional Danish brunsviger cake on the campus square, before enjoying a guided tour of the Odense campus.
Cakes galore on all campuses
The abundance of cakes became quite an attraction in itself on several of the campuses.
By Thursday afternoon, a short video showing images of the brunsviger cakes in Odense had already been viewed 15,000 times on Facebook.
“There is no longer any question about whether you’re big enough. All you need to do now is continue doing your utmost to remain at the top of the class. You don’t need to be a paragon of virtue, but you must focus on making sure that other people in society reap the benefits of your knowledge,” said Vice-Chancellor Dam in a speech about the ‘birthday boy’.
Henrik Dam then gave a speech before cutting the cake. This was followed by birthday songs and other musical contributions by the University Chamber Choir.