“My thing is academic pride”

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Same procedure as last year...? No, because unlike Miss Sophie in Dinner for One, AU doesn’t turn 90 every year. Omnibus is celebrating the university’s 90th with a series of short interviews with employees about their relationship to the university.

2018.12.14 | Miriam Brems

Tine Sommer’s favorite place at AU is the Main Hall, because it helps create a sense of respect for the academic tradition and the university’s proud heritage. Photo: Lars Kruse.

AU’s 90th

  • “In the hope that that the scientific and scholarly research which shall take place here may take place in spirit and truth, I hereby inaugurate Aarhus University.”
  • King Christian X inaugurated the first university in Jutland with these words, on 11 September 1933. The very university where you work – or study: Aarhus University.
  • Omnibus is celebrating AU’s 90th birthday with a series of short interviews: we asked AU employees to answer three questions about their relationship to the university. And about their birthday wishes for the guest of honor.
  • Together with university historian Palle Lykke, we’ve also delved into the archives to find photos from the first nine decades at AU. They’re accompanied by a short text by Palle that illuminates the high points (and low points) documented by the photographer’s lens over the years.
  • And we’ve asked the photographers from AU Photo to revisit the same spots to show you what they look like today. The anniversary series ‘AU’s 90th’ will run throughout the autumn.

Tine Sommer, head of the Department of Law, employed at AU since 1991

Why are you still here?

“Because of my genuine love for my work and pride in being part of AU. I have a number of roles at the university, each of which gives me something different. As a teacher, it’s the satisfaction I take in communicating knowledge to the students and the satisfaction I get when I succeed in lighting an intellectual park and curiosity in these young people. As a researcher, it’s contributing new knowledge to society. In my role as manager, I have to guarantee that we continue to safeguard the traditional academic approach to our work. For me, this means involving staff in decision-making and respect for the work that’s performed every day in the university’s engine room. We’re here in order to transfer knowledge to the next generation, and there’s a lot of machinery that has to be kept humming before you as a researcher can stand in the lecture hall and teach. I have great respect for all of the employees who make that possible. Even though the structure of the university has changed, it’s still important to involve the employees – both VIP and TAP – because they’re the ones who are doing the hands-on work and know how we get the processes to function in practice.”

What’s your favorite spot at AU?

Of course, one of AU’s distinctive features is our beautiful campus, but if I have to choose just one place, it’s the Main Hall. It contributes a ceremonial atmosphere, for example at graduation ceremonies and academic events, which contributes to respect for the academic tradition. It’s nice to have surroundings that contribute to academic pride at the university.

What is your birthday wish for AU?

That we preserve our pride and traditions, which can probably best be symbolized by AU’s old seal (the dolphin logo, ed.) It expresses simplicity, peace and time for free intellectual inquiry. The Latin motto means ‘We seek solid ground in the depths.’ This is a reminder of the value of the intellectual inquiry and curiosity the university stands for. We have to continue to insist that there has to be time for that, and not compromise on what creates academic value – we have to preserve the fundamental values that characterize academic excellence.

 

For Tine Sommer, AU’s old Latin motto and seal symbolize the university’s fundamental values and remind us that we have to hold on to them: simplicity, time for free intellectual inquiry and academic pride. Photo: Lars Kruse.

AU’s 90th

  • “In the hope that that the scientific and scholarly research which shall take place here may take place in spirit and truth, I hereby inaugurate Aarhus University.”
  • King Christian X inaugurated the first university in Jutland with these words, on 11 September 1933. The very university where you work – or study: Aarhus University.
  • Omnibus is celebrating AU’s 90th birthday with a series of short interviews: we asked AU employees to answer three questions about their relationship to the university. And about their birthday wishes for the guest of honor.
  • Together with university historian Palle Lykke, we’ve also delved into the archives to find photos from the first nine decades at AU. They’re accompanied by a short text by Palle that illuminates the high points (and low points) documented by the photographer’s lens over the years.
  • And we’ve asked the photographers from AU Photo to revisit the same spots to show you what they look like today. The anniversary series ‘AU’s 90th’ will run throughout the autumn.
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