Välkomsttal på installationshögtiden i oktober 2016

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Dear professors, prize-winners and medallists, dear colleagues and guests joining us this evening.

Please allow me to welcome you to Karolinska Institutet’s 2016 installation ceremony.

This is an opportunity for us to honour those of you who are taking on a new role at our university as professors, those of you who have made prize-winning efforts to foster the advancement of education and research, and those of you who have been awarded the Grand Silver Medal for important contributions to Karolinska Institutet.

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Some people might wonder what purpose traditional academic ceremonies have for a modern university, like Karolinska Institutet.

I myself believe that a tradition, such as today’s installation ceremony, creates a link between the past and the present and reminds us of what our university was in earlier times as well as where we are now heading

Both in its design and content, this evening’s installation ceremony is similar to academic ceremonies spanning our more than 200 year of history.

The ceremony reminds us that we each represent just a single point in the continuous development of our university, building on the achievements of our predecessors and laying down the groundwork for the achievements of our successors.

Above all, we celebrate you, our new professors, and at the same time learn more about how you have advanced research and education at Karolinska Institutet or elsewhere. As professors, you have attained the highest academic position.

And we celebrate you, our prize-winners.

As recipients of academic prizes, you have distinguished yourselves in the pursuit of excellence in education and research.

We celebrate our silver medallists.

You are being honoured for the extensive and highly significant contributions you have made to the development of Karolinska Institutet.

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Today, more than ever in our history, the global impact of our work is clear.

We have grown from being an academy for army surgeons into an internationally recognized medical university. International both in terms of who we are and where we come from as well as in the way we work closely with researchers, teachers and students at other universities and research centres around the world.

Similarly, our vision – to make a significant contribution to the improvement of human health – knows no boundaries.

We hope that you, our new professors, prize-winners and medallists, will inspire and lead the next generation of young researchers and students, who, in turn, will one day participate in academic ceremonies similar to our celebration this evening.

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I was recently asked what changes when one becomes a professor.

Three things came to mind:

  1. Firstly, as we have already touched upon, installation as professor is a recognition of your achievements and experience, a recognition that comes with high expectations that you will continue to push forward the frontiers of knowledge in order to improve human health– which is ultimately what we are all here to do.
  2. Secondly, it means that, within your new role, you become a representative of the highest academic title, which is coupled to the expectation that you will pass your knowledge to undergraduate and postgraduate students.
  3. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, as a professor, you are expected to set an example for others as an expert in your field, as a leader of a well-functioning research team and as an innovative and engaged teacher:

A professor that is a leader who modestly listens to others.

Who fosters development of his or her colleagues.

Who welcomes a lively debate about science and methods without hiding behind his or her excellence or status.

As role models, we must strive every day to create an academic environment that invites ideas and opinions, and willingly accepts criticism. We must never compromise in relation to basic ethical and moral values and never, ever compromise on what is right and wrong.

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To all of you we celebrate tonight in Aula Medica – our new professors, prize-winners and medallists: let us view this evening as an acknowledgement of both knowledge and responsibility.

And as a reminder of all the work being done at Karolinska Institutet in the name of medical science.

And, above all, as an occasion to remind ourselves what we need to do in order continue to make significant contributions to the improvement of human health.

Once again – a warm welcome to you all!

Karin Dahlman-Wright

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