VMU Marked University’s Birthday and Restoration of Lithuanian Independence
On February 15, during celebratory festivities marking the Day of the Restoration of Lithuanian Independence and the birthday of Vytautas Magnus University, the memory of the Lithuanian freedom fighter Jonas Pranas Aleksa was immortalized, while the members of the VMU community were honoured and given awards.
The celebration of the Day of Restoration of Lithuanian Independence and the 89th birthday of VMU commenced with the paying of respects to the historical memory and the people who have contributed enormously to Lithuania and the university.
At 2.30 p.m., the official unveiling of the stela created in remembrance of the Professor Jonas Pranas Aleksa took place at the Faculty of Economics and Management (S. Daukanto g. 28, 4th floor lobby). It will immortalize the memory of Aleksa, who was a persistent upholder of Lithuanian citizenship traditions, the conceptual initiator of a university in Kaunas and a lecturer at VMU.
At 4 p.m. in the VMU Aula Magna (Gimnazijos g. 7), the Day of the Restoration of Lithuanian Independence and the birthday of the university will be commemorated in an official ceremony. The Music Academy, a newly established division of the university, was introduced to the audience and meritorious members of the VMU community will be honoured.
“On a person’s birthday, we all say thanks, give presents. Thus, the members of the VMU community were also awarded during the celebrations of the university’s birthday”, said the Rector of the university Zigmas Lydeka.
For the first time in the history of the re-established VMU, young scientists who have successfully defended their PhD theses in 2010 were awarded doctoral insignia of VMU. “A young scientist, accepting the diploma of a Doctor of Science, should remember this day as an exceptional banner day in his career. The university has always enjoyed the scientific accomplishments of each of its members, hence we have decided to change the quite formal diploma awards’ ceremony in the beginning of a Senate meeting into a part of the birthday celebration – paying respects to the young scientist and his family in this way”, the Rector explained what was behind the initiative of this beautiful tradition.
The most hard-working and active doctoral students and scientists also received tokens of encouragement. In the competition of the most active doctoral students and young scientists, the third and fourth year PhD students were evaluated separately, as well as the young scientists who have successfully defended dissertations. Separate competitions were also held in the areas of the Humanities, Biomedicine, Social and Physical Sciences. The commission of experts of the corresponding scientific areas assessed the applicants’ requests according to their scientific productions (articles and other publications) and other activities – participation in projects, conferences, student teaching, university management, etc.
“The competition of the doctoral students and the young scientists is one of the components of a system of evaluation and encouragement for the lecturers and the research fellows, implemented and constantly improved at the university. Lately more and more of financing of science and studies get to universities through competitions and projects. Keeping that in mind, as early as from their PhD studies, we try to make future teachers and researchers get used to competitions, help them learn to present their ideas and results of scientific activities attractively. We think that this will encourage young scientists to be more active participants in the processes at the university”, claimed the VMU Vice Rector for Research Juozas Augutis.
Upon the order issued by the Rector, the festivities included giving awards to doctoral students of biomedicine and physics Mantas Stankevičius (chemistry, 2nd year), Vidas Daudaravičius (informatics, 3rd year), Asta Danilevičiūtė (ecology and environmental science, 4th year) and young scientist Raminta Rodaitė-Riševičienė (chemistry). For achievements in the humanities, awards were handed out to doctoral students Teresė Aleknavičiūtė (philology, 2nd year), Eglė Savickaitė (ethnology, 3rd year), Vytas Jankauskas (history, 4th year), Jurgita Vaičenonienė (philology, 4th year) and young scientist Laima Bucevičiūtė (history). Scholarships were also given to PhD. students of social sciences: Giedrius Česnakas (political sciences, 2nd year), Monika Miliušienė (educology, 3rd year), Jolita Jonynienė (psychology, 3rd year), Jurga Misiūnienė (psychology, 4th year), Dainius Genys (sociology, 5th year), Aurelijus Zykas (political sciences, 5th year) and young scientists Aušra Vinciūnienė (political sciences) and Jolita Vveinhardt (management and administration).
At the celebrations of the Day of Restoration of Lithuanian Independence and the birthday of VMU, meritorious employees were honoured with VMU silver medals. Also given out were the VMU honorary scholarships, as well as Independence Act signatory Jonas Smilgevičius’ scholarships. Memorial scholarships were given out to Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students for their outstanding achievements in studies or scientific, creative, public or sports activities representing the university. Honorary scholarships are awarded in an official ceremony once a year to no more than seven VMU students. This year, two VMU honorary scholarships were presented.
Students of the VMU Music Academy presented a musical programme, which included melodies composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Giuseppe Verdi and Maurice Ravel.
Video recording of the celebrations can be watched here.
Celebratory events at the university were complemented by the signing of the founding agreements for the President Valdas Adamkus’ library-museum. The signing took place on February 15, Tuesday, 3 p.m., at the VMU Rector’s Meetings Hall (K. Donelaičio g. 58). The library, named after the honorary member of VMU Re-establishment Council, VMU Honorary Doctor and the Chairman of the VMU Council, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus, will be open at the building where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania functioned during the interwar (S. Daukanto g. 25).
After the Kaunas City Council approved Vytautas Magnus University’s proposal to establish this library-museum, it wil be used to preserve and present to the public Valdas Adamkus’ heritage of social and political activities, publicize intellectual input, encourage and support research on the social and political activities of the President, organize exhibitions, conferences, seminars, training, concern itself with creation, circulation and distribution of video and audio data, establish scholarships for the researchers of Valdas Adamkus’ activities.
A special exposition was opened for the occasion of the university’s birthday. It is available at the History Hall of the building of the Rectorate (K. Donelaičio g. 58).
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