On Monday 31st January 2011 the School of Business and Economics (SBE) organised a debate on the subject of Dutch government Higher Education Policy in honour of Jo Ritzen upon his departure as President of Maastricht University. During his welcome speech, Professor Tom van Veen, vice-dean of SBE commemorated Jo Ritzen for his significance for Maastricht University, namely his clear vision on higher education and research and his enthusiasm and commitment to the university.
The welcome speech was followed by the debate on the higher education policy of the new Dutch government. The debate was chaired by Professor Gerard Pfann, scientific director of METEOR and vice-dean for research of SBE. The panel members were first given the opportunity to defend their discussion statements. In defending his statement “The role of higher education quality in economic growth is by and large ignored in the political debate while it has strong analytical underpinnings”, Jo Ritzen plead for setting up research on a European scale to show how important higher education is for the overall performance of Europe. The discussion that followed focused on how to combine excellence and quality on the one hand and accessibility and financial schemes for students on the other hand. Jo Ritzen predicted that “tuition fees will be doubled in four year time” and asked the audience who wanted to make a wager on this prediction.
After the musical performance ‘We’ll meet again Some Other Time’, the participants of the debate and the audience had the opportunity to say a personal goodbye to Jo Ritzen. Although the occasion was sad, it was an enjoyable afternoon and taking into account the inspirational spirit of Jo Ritzen, we are sure that we will meet him again!
Jo Ritzen is succeeded by Professor Martin Paul.