Campus and Community

“My university has always been my stronghold, my last refuge”

This was an inspiring quote by professor Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa during his inaugural lecture at the opening ceremony of the academic year 2018/2019.

The opening ceremony of the academic year is usually a unique and very important moment at Universidade de Lisboa (ULisboa), but this year was much more than that. This Thursday, September 20, the ceremony was attended by the President of the Portuguese Republic (PR) who led the academic procession and gave his last lecture.

Teresa Valido, student and member of the General Council of ULisboa, and Alexandre Passo, president of AEIST, offered an academic gown to the PR, which they consider to be “the best way of representing students” and a way of “thanking the PR for his important contribution to our university and to students”. Teresa Valido stressed that ULisboa is increasingly a university open to the world that is “among the top 200 universities in the world”. “Being a student at this university is, above all, living in a space where we can be what we have always wanted to be, and from where we will get out well prepared to do what it takes to change the world”, said Teresa Valido, who studies at Faculty of Medicine.

Professor António Cruz Serra welcomed and encouraged the new students: “Keep studying, develop your human, artistic, technical and scientific skills”. “You will become more conscious of your place in the world if you don’t quit. You will gain greater independence and critical ability”, he added. After reinforcing the university’s ability to “form generations of adaptable, rigorous and resilient leaders”, the president addressed some of the hardships of recent times, namely the recent reduction of vacancies at ULisboa. Professor António Cruz Serra took the opportunity to mention the rehabilitation works and the infrastructures that will be built and inaugurated this year, namely Técnico’s new academic centre at Arco do Cego. The rector addressed the PR as “one of the most brilliant students and professors at the Faculty of Law” and “a person of exemplary character, endowed with exceptional intelligence, always committed to fighting social injustices and to fulfill the right to education”.

Professor Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa spoke about the 52 years of his academic life. He recalled the changes that occurred in the country and in the world, as well as the day he entered the university and the happiest moments until today. He did not forget the passion that truly moved him during all these years and the importance of ULisboa “that allowed me to have unforgettable experiences”, he said with emotion. “My university has always been my stronghold, my last refuge”.

“I hope that this university and all Portuguese universities provide an education based on fredoom, equalty and solidarity”, the PR said at the end of his speech. The PR got a standing ovation that lasted for several minutes. Professor Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa leaves the classroom but will continue to lecture “on the street, in the train, in the garden, everywhere we meet”.