Skip to main content

President Mari Walls at the Opening Ceremony: The University exists for the benefit of the surrounding society

Published on 5.9.2022
Tampere University
Rehtori Mari Walls puhuu avajaisissa.Photograph: Jonne Renvall/Tampereen yliopisto
Tampere University celebrated the opening of its fourth academic year on Monday on the Hervanta campus. In her opening speech, President Mari Walls emphasised the role of universities in navigating through crises, and called for long-range outlook for the funding of research and education.

The multidisciplinary Tampere University is a community of close to 22 000 students and some 4 200 staff. The University community’s more than 4 000 international members represent over 110 nationalities. This autumn, over 3 500 new students are beginning their studies.

“We are living in world of uncertainty, characterised by the coronavirus pandemic, extreme weather phenomena and the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Such times require inventiveness, solutions and firm faith in the future. Universities play a pivotal role in building these key assets, both as generators of reliable research-based knowledge and as providers of the highest education,” said President Mari Walls.

She noted that isolation during the pandemic has increased mental load, particularly among students. The University strives to enhance the well-being of students through a wide variety of measures. It is important that no-one is left out.

According to Walls, the University’s ongoing year’s financial result is expected to be in balance.

“At the moment, the greatest factors causing financial uncertainty are found outside the University. Universities expect a strong commitment to research and education from the current Finnish government as well as an outlook that spans over parliamentary terms. The new RDI legislation, which is currently under preparation, would secure predictability for the part of public funding.”

“The research carried out at Tampere University is renowned for its societal impact. Our educational offering is one of the most multidisciplinary in Finland, and it is based on latest research knowledge as well as diverse interaction with the wider society and working life. Our collaboration with the business life as well as public stakeholders like the City of Tampere, the Pirkanmaa hospital district and the future wellbeing county is active, long-spanning, and continually developing.”

The Guest Speaker at the opening ceremony, Director of Corporate Services at the Wellbeing County of Pirkanmaa Juhani Sand noted that the wellbeing county and the Tampere Universities community have shared aims for research and education.

“It is important that we are able to secure the close collaboration between scientific research, service production and education during the transition, and that we can also direct research to assess the entire integrated social and health care service system,” Director Sand said.

“The wellbeing county reform will take years. The strains of large-scale mergers are well known at Tampere University. They may not be just a bed of roses but at their best they can produce world-class innovations and act as model for others.”

In his speech, Aleksi Niemi, Chair of the Executive Board of the Student Union of Tampere University TREY, reminded students of mercy on oneself and of wandering, which can be comforting in the midst of the anxiety related to starting one’s studies.

“A lot of pressures are often experienced when entering a new stage in life. In my view, the most important thing is to participate in a way that feels best. You should not force yourself to perform, like I myself did.”

“It is no use giving 110 percent of oneself. 80 percent is often sufficient and, in the long run, more sustainable. Have mercy on yourself and take your time to do things – usually everything works out that way.”

The Tampere University Alumnus of the Year 2022 was announced at the opening ceremony. He is Director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, politics researcher Mika Aaltola.

On the opening day, several awards were presented to members of the University community. The University unveiled the Social Impact Award and the Student Union TREY rewarded good teachers. The best doctoral theses and merited publishers were also honoured.

A procession led by president Mari Walls.
A procession led by President Mari Walls walks to the Opening Ceremony. (Photo: Jonne Renvall/Tampere University).