Estonia’s national university celebrates 96th anniversary

On Tuesday, 1 December, the University of Tartu celebrates the 96th anniversary of the national university with the traditional ceremony, torch-light procession and ball. Two honorary doctorates and 112 doctorates will be conferred at the ceremony and the University of Tartu Contribution to Estonian National Identity award will be presented. The ceremony is broadcasted live on

According to the Rector of the University of Tartu Professor Volli Kalm, our responsibility as the national university is to take care of Estonian-language culture, science and education: “The founding of Estonia’s national university 96 years ago was based on the same values which are important to members of the university today. As long as our everyday lives are driven by the wish to work in the name of intellectuality, dignity, quality teaching and the development of research in the Estonian language, there is no need to worry about our country, nation or language perishing. Being open minded about international research, education and culture only supports and reinforces our responsible role as the national university.”

The rector said that people who have come from abroad to study, teach or do research at the University of Tartu bring a part of the world to the national university and enrichen our spirit, culture and research. “On the one hand, they contribute to the operation of the international university and, on the other hand, they are a part of the national university. This is why it is important to treat them as part of the national university—with respect and appreciation because one day, when our international colleagues return to their home country, they will be great ambassadors of Estonia, Tartu and the University of Tartu.”

The highlight of the anniversary is celebrated on Tuesday, 1 December. The anniversary ceremony begins in the university Assembly Hall at 12:00 with an opening address by the Rector Professor Volli Kalm.

At the ceremony, Professor Thomas Salumets of the University of British Columbia will be conferred honorary doctorate of humanities of the University of Tartu to acknowledge his academic achievements in the field of humanities, for his contribution to research on Estonian culture and his work in advising UT teaching staff and students. Honorary doctorate of economics will be conferred upon Professor Mark F. Peterson of Florida Atlantic University and Maastricht University who has played an important part in internationalising research in the field of national and organisation culture at the UT Faculty of Economics and Business Administration and whose work has helped increase the quality of doctoral studies.

The laureate of the UT Contribution to Estonian National Identity award will be announced. The anniversary celebrations continue in the evening with a torch-light procession, which begins at 17:00 from the Vanemuise 46 academic building. The traditional anniversary ball begins at 19 in the same evening in the Vanemuine Concert Hall.

Have a look at the complete programme at the UT website.

See the rector Volli Kalm’s address for 96th anniversary of national university:


Virge Tamme
Press Officer of the UT
Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5815 5392