The opening ceremony of the Academic Year 2019/2020 took place this Wednesday, 18th September, at Universidade de Lisboa (ULisboa). Students, professors, researchers and staff from the 18 schools of ULisboa attended the ceremony. “Live your life to the fullest, we will be with you side by side. We will make you feel at home” was the message that welcomed the new students.
“Four years after I first stepped into this room I am convinced, more than ever, that we will continue to be at the forefront of teaching and innovation”, said José Rodrigues, student and member of the general council. “This is our time. Today we are the driving force of this university; we are those who question, reflect, seek, create and move our university forward”, he added. José Rodrigues talked about the challenges ahead and called for boldness, irreverence and courage. At the end the student surprised professor Arlindo Oliveira with a present on behalf of all ULisboa students.
Zélia Abegão, who works at ULisboa social action services, made a speech about the role of social action in the “democratisation of access to higher education”. She stressed the evolution of social action and its importance in the lives of many students. Zélia Abegão praised ULisboa attitude on this subject and highlighted the impact and the valuable input provided by the university. “We don’t know what the future holds and whatever challenges await us, but we know that it’s important to improve social action at ULisboa, in order to make it a better university, attract the best students and give them the best conditions to study and to learn”.
According to professor Arlindo Oliveira, one of the major difficulties he faced over more than 8 years as president of Técnico was the state budget cuts for higher education. “Managing a public university is perhaps the most ungrateful public management task. It involves a more personal, legal and financial responsibility, which is not sufficiently valued. We take this responsibility because we respect our institutions”. Despite the difficulties “we were able to achieve remarkable results”, said professor Arlindo Oliveira who also highlighted: “Although we have a lower budget, we were able to put our schools among the most competitive in Europe”.
The president of Técnico highlighted the excellence of faculty, students and staff with whom he had the pleasure and privilege of working over these years, and the important role that Science and Technology will play in the future. Almost all major breakthroughs have depended on knowledge, Science and Technology, which lead to the progress we all have come to expect”. The only solution for some problems that will affect the future is “more and better Science, more and better Technology, more and better Engineering”. “Science, technology and knowledge will open the door to infinity”.
Professor António Cruz Serra, Rector of Universidade de Lisboa, welcomed the new students and talked about the growing role of the digital world, the fake news and the global warming. The Rector recalled that ULisboa continues to promote and disseminate culture. “When these technologies become obsolete we will continue to read the books by Camões and Pessoa and we will continue to listen to Lopes Graça and Mozart with the same fascination that we do today”, he said. “We must think differently and have the courage to choose the right direction” in order to face the changes ahead. “We want to improve our training and our partnerships. We want to welcome more national and international students. We want to promote faculty mobility and to develop more scientific projects”, said professor António Cruz Serra. “We count on your intelligence, ambition and commitment to make ULisboa a bigger university”, said the Rector to the new students.